South Africa's basketball community

Is there a need for a Coaches commission in SA?

By on May 21, 2009 in News

South Africa is a complex society with complex issues to resolve and basketball is no stranger as far as issues to resolve goes… Over the past few months we have had cries for referees to be brought to order and Mybasketball touched the surface as far as that is concerned…Now it’s time to discuss another important aspect of our game, the coaches…

Training our coaches…

Year in and year out, we have teams participating in different competitions all over the country whether it be at mini basketball, junior level or senior level and most of these teams are led by a coach, a caretaker or a teacher…

Some of these coaches have gained experience from books, DVDs, television and through the art of learning from someone else but most of them have no formal training and those are few and far in between. BSA has promised to address this void in development of coaches but until then it’s the Do It Yourself model that is the norm in the country.

Most kids in SA start playing basketball when they get to high school and that is their first contact point for the sport. Having been involved at this level, you usually get new and young coaches that mean well but don’t know how to go about channeling this enthusiasm into a productive coaching method. So they end up teaching the wrong stuff or teaching the right stuff but at the wrong level; this leads to players that don’t develop properly. These players are starving to emulate the NBA stars on television and without proper guidance they also resort to the Do It Yourself model of their coaches… They end up being exposed at provincial level or at international level where they do their best but simply don’t have the tools.

By the time these players finish high school and move into the university system they are not equipped to compete at the next level and either end up struggling to adjust for a few years or giving up the sport all together…

This vicious circle continues and that’s why there is a need for formal training for coaches and a grading system is essential especially for our national teams.

Coaching Director’s…

There is a provision in the BSA infrastructure for a coaching director and there are a few people that can probably fill this role. On the top of my head, we have Mlungisi “Flosh” Ngwenya, Thierry Kita, Kimathi Tobothi, Craig Daniels, Brenda Mutungutungu and a few others that have had some kind of involvement at senior national level. As we speak Flosh Ngwenya is doing a coaching course overseas and hopefully when he comes back he will share the knowledge he gains with other coaches…

A coaching director in my opinion is an important part of any basketball structure because he should streamline all the programs from mini up to senior level. They should enforce the style of play adopted all levels, organize coaches conventions/commissions and make sure that the proper training is provided. Make sure that the development program is implemented correctly and that there is progress made from all age groups. Liaise and work with the referees to see where they can improve standards, etc… We have a lot of basketball brains but how do you go about selecting one…

Coaches commission…

This has been mentioned a few times on this website and recently I had some correspondence from Jabulani James Mthethwa (Under 20 National men coach, Bedfordview dragons coach and founder) that convinced me to write this article. One of our regular contributors on Mybasketball, Joe Mangadi also mentioned it a few times that there was a need to get Commission for Coaches up and running for the sake of the sport.

With national teams jetting all over the world for different competitions, some people see the need for such a gathering as a priority. National teams go and take part in regional tournaments throughout Africa and most people expect them to perform and when they don’t the first person questioned is the head coach. In a normal and organized system with a functioning federation, functioning districts, functioning leagues, this would be applicable but in a South African system where everything needs to be fixed; the coach is almost set up to fail from the beginning. Most of the time the coach in question doesn’t get to pick the team that he will be taking or even if he does get to pick his squad he doesn’t have access to the complete pool of players from the country.

National teams are being selected without any form of guidelines. Players that should be in national teams are overlooked because they were not at a particular tournament or their teams/institutions didn’t qualify. Good high school players get overlooked because they were not informed of trial dates or because their school doesn’t play in a particular league. A coaches’ commission would go a long way to solve that problem if it is implemented properly with various coaches from all over the country having an input.

A coaches’ commission could come up with a plan of action and directive for the whole country and work closely with a Coaching director to make sure that it is implemented. Make sure that the junior programs and development programs are well run and supported. This will also help implement a national program for coaching clinics and help with the proper selection of coaches at provincial and national level.

All this requires vision and if we have aspirations of making it to the Olympics one day, BasketballSA needs to have that vision and a plan to get us there. By putting the different pieces into place starting with the right administrators, it will help our sport grow exponentially. At the moment we go to tournaments knowing that we will not do well and we come back and say it was a learning curve. Coaches start working with teams and after a tournament they are changed without any form of plan to let them implement a 2 year program for that team, etc… The right administrators at all level will ensure a functioning system which will lead to better policies, better districts, better provincial structures, better national structures, better government support and better support for the sport.

Article by Victor Shakineza

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There Are 30 Brilliant Comments

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  1. baller says:


    i heard there were issues with Joseph and Lesego regarding work commitments. Kim, since you were in Moz why didn’t Joseph and Lesego make it.

    may you losing me Sipho, who are Flosh’s friends in the team. then we can evaluate if they deserve to be there or not based on their performance. for me a coach will be close with his players regardless. and that does not necessarily make them friends. do you expect that next time Kim sees the guys he went with to Moz to just pass and not chat with them cos he will be labelled the next time he is selected to coach a team?

  2. Joe says:

    Sipho & Baller

    Lets go easy on Musa cause I think his message got lost in the argument. To rephrase him, you cannot have a coaches commission if the structures are not in order cause the commission will come from these structures.

    As I have argue and will continue to argue, the Intergrated Development Model should be the ONLY way forward.

  3. kim says:

    I know that basketball topics can be heated sometimes but lets try debate with facts and not perceptions.

    Saying that Flosh selected players based on friendships is unfounded.I unfortunately am not Coach Flosh’s mouth piece but can tell you that the team that was chosen by him made strides in improving its standing in Africa and the World.His teams achieved more than any other team that was coached by any coach that coached SA.Yes he had more time to do it and he brought results.

    I agree that main priority of basketball is development but that doesnt mean BasketballSA should not look at other issues such as Coaching commissions.If I use Musa’s arguement of why they shouldnt be a coaching commission then I can say the same of development.Is there a structure for development?If not then how can we look to developed basketball in province?It doesnt work like that.I believe members that were elected have duties and they supposed to address issues from their desks.

    Simple example would be national Govt.Although it has 5 priorities(Education,Health,Crime etc) it doesnt mean that Public Works shouldnt meet their mandate.I am not sure about Joseph as I was not included in the 1st camp but only joined the team in the second camp but I know Lesego had work commitments.Its all good that we play well with the current setup but I think you dont just play for today but in the process you build for the future cos your Thabang,Tuka,Lesego,Q etc wont stay 19.The question should be who replaces them when they have 10 grand kids and can no longer run….That I think should be the focus and how do you implement that change if at all.

  4. sipho says:


    I ddnt say that, I was just responding to Nihlo’s post of 26 May as he was the 1 that alleged that Forsh selects “his friends” for the national team hence I was quick to even ask who was better than these guys (friends) currently!

    Thanx Kim for clarifying issues!

  5. sipho says:


    U raised an important question about succession in the squad! My point to Nihlo was that I agree 100% with Florsh’s selection cos I just dont think that the senior national team should be grooming players. BSA should come up with development strategies, which might be tough for them since we dont even have a national pro league! I blv the national team coach should always select the best available players at the time! So, 4 me these guys (neo, joseph, les, Q, Tk & all other “friends”) are currently the best we have. Development is the association’s baby as is the case in other codes like soccer where safa takes care of development NOT psl!