South Africa's basketball community

SA teams July low down, the drama and the lies…

By on July 19, 2009 in News

The USSA team recently came back from Serbia where they didn’t fare really well, finishing last. We can be quick to point the blame on the coaches or players but I think that before we do that we should look at the planning that went into getting the team selected and ready to participate in this tournament. We don’t seem to learn from our mistakes and year in and  year out we sent teams to international tournaments hoping that they will pull off miracles and win a game or two or even qualify in the case of qualifiers.

The young men and the coaches that went to represent South Africa at the World Student Games went there with the best intentions but with the wrong tools or not enough of them. It’s like going to play a basketball game and when you get there you realize that you didn’t bring any balls and the hoops are not available but there are two teams and all the officials are there. My point is that I feel that this team was set up to fail from the time they were selected at the USSA tournament at the University of Pretoria earlier in the year. The team didn’t have enough depth at the post position and if that says that we don’t have depth at our tertiary institutions then all I can say is that the game at senior level is as doomed as it is at junior level. As far as the coaches are concerned, I can guarantee that there is no coach that goes into a big tournament like this with the intention to lose or not do well, so before we criticize the coaches we should ask ourselves if they were given the right material to work with from the start… That my take on the World Student Games where South Africa came 25th out of 25 teams… Better planning from USSA next time might help the teams achieve better.The senior ladies national team, which is mostly made up of students should have also been given a chance to represent the country at the World Student games. But we know it was never going to happen and even after the 2008 USSA tourney in Cape Town, we knew that the ladies were not going. To be honest I don’t even know the real reason why they couldn’t go, some say it’s FISU, some say it’s USSA and some even say BSA but I haven’t received an answer that makes sense on why and how do we make sure they participate at the next one.

Regardless of that the ladies recently had a scheduled camp in Potchefstroom. After qualifying for the African Championships Women in Madagascar with victory over Zimbabwe, the coaching staff has been hard at work trying to get the ladies ready for any eventuality. At the moment, the tournament that was supposed to take place from the 5th to 20th September has apparently been postponed due to unrest in Madagascar. Going back to the Potch camp, rumour has it that the players didn’t get paid for it with BSA promising to do it at the end of the month. Let’s wait and see what transpires…

The senior men national team has been given the run around of late with confusion the order of the day. They were told that they had a camp in Potchefstroom in preparation for the William Jones Cup, then they didn’t have a camp because the tournament was postponed then it wasn’t then we found out that the tournament was in fact still taking place but that SA had pulled out at the last minute… Most of the players and probably coaching staff were perplexed at the situation and didn’t know whether to request leave or not. BSA has been keeping mum on the whole situation with no communication to say what was really going on. The unofficial line was first that the tournament was postponed and when we checked the information online and found out that the tourney was still taking place, the story changed to SA pulled out… Doing some research, I found out online that SA had pulled out of the tournament because the organizers were only going to provide them with accommodation and food while BSA wanted them to fly them out there too, something that they don’t do. But my question is didn’t BSA know this before accepting the invitation to participate? If they did, it would have saved everyone the trouble of the mess that has ensued.

Back to the national team, they have been given a wild card to take part in the African Championships Men in Libya (12th to 22nd August) but like always they will not have enough time to prepare for it and we will end up blaming the players and coaches if they don’t do well. They haven’t had a camp to prepare for this tournament since coach Flosh Ngwenya came back and the tournament is less than a month away, I wonder what miracles can be achieved in such a short period of time. Some players are so unhappy with the situation that they don’t know if they will be given enough notice ahead of the tournament. If BSA needs help they should ask for it, I am sure that there are plenty of people willing to come onboard and help. At the end of the day, SA is made to look bad on the international stage because of last minute changes or preparations that make BSA look so unprofessional.

Article by Victor Shakineza

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There Are 33 Brilliant Comments

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  1. kim says:

    What a gloomy start to the week.I hope it ends on a great.I hope next Monday will start on a great note.

    No comments on all the above but Joe’s comments on the subject keep ringing in my head.

  2. sipho says:

    eish ya ne!!! Sad state of affairs, really!!!

  3. Theo says:

    If our junior level basketball is not competitive,Do we expect to do miracles at the highest level.It is not about the material we had in the tournament.It is about starting to develop basketball again in the junior level.

    Joe have spoken much about the development,It is about time we go back into the drawing board.

    I believe SA has great talent and great future in basketball.

    Kim said let the children play,We need that indeed.

  4. Coach Pat says:

    Hi fellow coaches,

    After so many years in the game, as both player and coach, I am please to advise that I was approached by BSA (incl.Coach Flosh) for resource material I had compiled many years ago when I was in the role of Coaching Manager.

    This material covered the structure of a Coaching Commission ( a small ‘working’ group), as well as the coaching guidelines broken down by fundamental for ALL junior age groups (incl. at what age to introduce, refine and master certain skills), a guideline for national team selection at provincial tournaments as well as a level one coaching manual and content for level two and level three manuals.

    The Coaching Accreditation Programme structure has also been supplied to BSA as well as career pathways for our junior players that lead from under 16 through to senior level so players can see where they can go IF BSA can succesfully get their house in order for the different age groups and provide them with year round competition and involvement in the game.

    The only way we can improve our standard of play is if we afford our junior players these type of opportunities throughout the year.This includes allowing a national u16 team to play in the u18 champs and the u18 team to play in teh u22 champs etc etc. This will jump start improvement in individual players, coaches and team play. Australia many years ago identified this need and look where their junior teams are today! (And we as South African’s have far greater natural athletic ability than they have!!)

    I have offered to assist BSA in whatever way possible to share the knowledge I have gained over the years with my involvement at the AIS in Canberra, my BSA portfolio, my National team involvement at the Commonwealth Games and my involvement with Mike Scholl and the ESPN/AND1 team.

    I certainly hope some of these documents and proposals to BSA will be considered and pursued by BSA for the good of the game.

    Coach Pat Fick (50 and still going strong!)

    IPS. f any readers have spoken to the National team players please get some feedback as to how successful the training camp was leading up to the Commonwealth Games. I am very concerned about the core content of our training camps and our inability as coaches to prepare beforehand to get the most out of our limited time at camps – the other major problem is that as coaches, we are not following the modern trend of ENSURING competition at our camps and PRIOR to our competition phase!

    If their was one mistake I regret before going to the Commonwealth Games (with only our local players being available) was that we failed to organise games against tough competition before we left. I am sure it would have made a world of difference!

    Coach Pat

  5. Theo says:

    Coach Pat

    Is your Name Coach Pat Anderson,If so,IT is great to have you in this Forum.You assisted in really appreciated.I like you idea on How to penetrate the zone defense,i have being studying that move for a well now.As you said,If you master that move you can be any team in the world.

    Welcome Coach

  6. Coach Pat says:

    Hi Theo,

    No sorry – this is Coach Patrick Fick – local coach now involved with Wheelchair Basketball South Africa.

  7. kim says:

    Pat…….Coach Pat
    Price of a new car..R270 000….

    Price of Knowledge = Priceless……

  8. I still believe that the solution to our problems is the development of a PROFESSIONAL LEAGUE in South Africa.This league will provide us with a pool of professional athletes who are training twice a day , lifting weights , being exposed to foreign players and coaches ,and competing at a high level on a weekly basis. It is impossible for our part time amateur players to compete against the professional players of other countries , even at the U18 level players from other countries are involved in the junior and senior programs of professional clubs.
    Until we have a pro league up and running there is no point in developing our juniors as most of them will quit by the time they are 22 as there is nothing for them to play in and people have to start earning a living.
    People will be amazed how the junior ranks develop under a pro league as the kids have motivation and aspirations of playing in this league and will spend hours developing their skills with a chance of becoming a professional athlete.
    My question is “What are we waiting for BSA?”

  9. Neo says:

    Coach Pat

    Could you please send me your mail address to this mail address Your input in what we trying to achieve at junior level will be very valuable.

  10. Joe says:

    I hereyby propose that Coach Pat be appointed the Coaching Comminsioner for BSA. Oops! I forgot CRONYISM won’t allow.

    During my involvement with GBA, I wish that we could have ‘abused’ Coach Pat more, maybe GP Boys would have won one Engen U18 🙁 , unfortunately his time was very limited.

    Anwho! I am relieved that BSA is trying to do something right and really hope that they not only do the right things but also do things right. More often bbal has failed not because right things are being done but rather that they are done right.

  11. sipho says:

    I think Craig is right!

    Thats the reality, like it or not! U can have the best structures for developmen but if u dont have somewhere u are working towards, ITS POINTLESS! What will motive youngsters to go thru the structures (which are crucial of cause) if there’s no pro league that they are striving to play in. What will be the point in putting a lot of effort in something that u wont live off when u can just focus on your IT that will feed u & play ball in your leisure time. We will be attending all these championships to “learn” aka “site-seeing” until kingdom come if we dont get a pro league where ppl will be fulltime pros!

    I just blv had we had a pro league, with the current crop of fellows in the national team setup, we would be far! These guys have so much experience but what I think lets us down is their level of ONGOING competitiveness & physical conditioning which u dont just get by playing against 2 SERIOUS teams in the metro once in a while & watching NBA!

  12. sipho says:

    Hey, howdy coach Pat! Long time!

  13. kim says:

    I think I love todays inputs…….

    Then the question is what is happening with the PRO league.Why are we not having it?Anyone with answers?

  14. Coach Pat says:

    Hi Joe, Craig and Sipho

    Great to hear from you guys.
    Regarding a proffessional league you are right – definitely needed in our country to keep playing standards high with foreign player restrictions in each team. Yes it does create role models for our youngsters. But the problem is that past lessons show us that when the power and money is in the hands of the select few it is too often abused and misused and then the league cannot be sustained and sponsors back away as soon as their returns diminish!

    We need developement on the ground at grass root level – I would like to see BSA through a Coaches Commission and and National Manager of Player and Coach Developement implement ITC facilities in all our regions.

    These Intensive Training Centres could be funded thru Dept.of Sport and used to develop our best talent identified at national champs for the different age groups. Our juniors must be given the chance to strive for Provincial and National team
    selection and we need to compete within Africa and OUTSIDE Africa to really become a force at the various age levelsThey can be run by current national team players (funded employement by BSA) so that we are all working towards national goals and standards. Each center would provide a facility for basketball, ensuring tournaments could always be held. Career paths for our players would be monitored to develop their game and their own skills while representing the country!

    Our senior players have not been looked after and our talent has been wasted due to lack of opportunities!!

    Is that not so Craig, Neo, Q , TK, Lesego, Thabo etc etc?
    Can you imagine if these quality of players could have been utilised at these centres years ago to develop our youth, acting as coaches, role models and ensuring our standards of play improve at the various junior levels?

    Coaching clinics could be conducted on a regular basis regionally and accreditations could be easily undertaken by accredited national team coaches at such centres.

    THIS is somewhat in-line with the extremely succesful Aussie model admired throughout the basketball world but could be adapted to our unique and wonderful country. All BSA need to do is roll up the sleeves and get to work!!!
    Put the funding into the right channels and I believe this is a seperate responsibility to running a proffessional league.

    Ok ok enuff emotion – back to the hardwood where I get all my satisfaction form our youth of today!

    Kudo’s to Coach James Mtetwa for the excellent work he is doing at Mandeville with the youngsters – I am helping him at present and he is really committed. I’m sure there are many coaches like him out there working at ground level – keep it up – you are the coaches that are making a difference!

    I am presently involved with the National Wheelchair Team and miss working with our National team terribly but I am sure Coach Flosh and Coach Kita can take us forward. it’s their time and I sincerely hope they make it!!

    I believe we should embrace WBSA structures – include them on BSA and allow then to guide us forward to achieve what they have achieved. Andy Scott should be a technical advisor for BSA AND Marketing Director! He has made amazing strides for wheelchair basketball in this country.

    Craig, you would be very impressed with the Supersport League – it is growing in popularity and their National Team calendar is what we always hoped we could have in the able-bodied game.

    Yours in sport
    Coach Pat

    Thks for the kind words Kim!!

    You see you guys have got me started and now I can’t stop!!! One day this game will be the death of me!! he he he

  15. kim says:

    Funny enough many contributers in this site have been saying the stuff that Pat seems to have packaged soo brilliantly BUT this is just a website and the actual work is done out there.I am starting to think that we will forever go around in circles if this type of information is not sent to BSA.I think a foundation(team) must collect this information and suggestions and forward them to the mobile office of BSA.

    The HOW part is always the most difficult step for SA.We have the best policies in the country but they are locked in the cupboards and never implemented.How do we grow the sport?Militacy,Joe was saying that last week.Will we one day see our kids and grand kids having something that we didnt get when we played the game….I HOPE SO.

  16. sipho says:

    I fully concur comrade Fick!

    Perhaps BSA shud take a leaf from WCBSA’s book judging by the performance of these oakes! Surely there’s something right they are doing.

  17. Zoran says:

    I am very excited to see that “fire” is still burning in some old friends who gave so much to the game we all love. For those who don’t know me I am one of the enthusiasts from back in nineties who was very much involved in playing and coaching basketball in Cape Town. I was playing in Serbia for 20 years before I emigrated to South Africa where i continued …
    I am afraid that we missed the great opportunity back then to put this game on the right path and don’t know if we are going to have a similar chance in the future.
    I can see now that South African Basketball is self destructive and every 15 or 20 years we are making the same mistakes. Lots of individuals put so much of their personal sacrifice from playing , coaching and organizing and after 5-10 years they burn out and disappear WHY? Because in South African basketball everything is up side down. Let me explain.
    When I’ve got involved in SA basketball back in 93′ PBL was just about to start. To date many of you believe that we need professional league today and in my opinion that is absolutely wrong. Yes we need national competition by all means but you never build the house from the roof don’t you?
    Back than we had very strong local league in Cape Town and High schools full of enthusiastic kids and what happened? PBL league started with one team from Cape Town which was assembled from the top players from the participating clubs in the local league. It was exciting I must say but where we ready for this step? Absolutely not!
    Patrick put so much work in establishing much needed national coaches association and after our 1st coaches conference in JHB we were all very positive that this is a great start. Just to remind you that in 1981 BSA was also having the 1st national coaches conference and I believe we will have another one in the future(1st again).
    What we really need is the National Basketball Administrators conference in order to run the sport properly with the guys who have this sport in their blood and not those who are only attracted by cash.
    To be honest it’s hard to believe that this sport will have a powerful sponsor to sponsor the professional league on the national level again. Professional league with homeless clubs who don’t have the home venue dedicated only to basketball. In Cape Town you can’t even play basketball as soon as varsity exams start?!(More than a month)
    Please wake up and understand that only way to grow this sport is to start from the foundation which means organized school leagues, university leagues, club competition on the provincial level and than when this is working 100% national club championships will come as cherry on top. Let’s find the sponsors who are prepared to build us the indoor venues just for basketball and then we can run the coaching programs whole year around.
    Dear fellow coaches and players I am afraid there is no quick fix for basketball in South Africa and sooner we realize that is better.

  18. baller says:

    i finally see people coming together to put up ways of developing the sport around the country. these is what bball need. i mean seeing people like Coach Pat here says a lot. for me, its good to have the old guards contributing and sharing these ideas with us the young guards so that we move ahead. i bet there are a lot of the old guards who can contribute to the development of bball walking hand in hand with us.

    hopefully the mobile office Kim refers to is paying attention to all these suggestions and trying to mobilise for the way forward. we need all the stakeholders pulling together and where we fail, there are always other people with better ideas to help in advancing bball to the next level.

  19. kim says:

    Definately agree with your stance on the PBL story.

  20. Joe says:

    I fully support Zoran, we need to stop the obsession with Premier basketball as if it will miraculously solve our developmental problems. Without proper structures provincially and at school level our basketball is not going anywhere.

    Right now we are stressing about the National team’s trip to Libya, my question is: should this be our priority?

    The reason I am asking this question is that we all know that the team is NOT going there to win, no matter how much we wish or they are prepared to die. Fact is they will be playing against players and teams who are playing constantly at a higher level. NO amount of camping will address this.

    Secondly, we all know that BSA is stratched for cash but we are expecting miracles from them. What I am arguing, and this is supported by Zoran, is that we should NOT expect BSA to use its limited human and financial resources to be all things to us. We should acknowledge and accept that structural Development is our priorty and as such our limited funding should serve to address this.

    Lke Zoran, I believe that only when the basics have been taking care ca we start making noise about Premier bball.

  21. sipho says:

    I think we need both (pro league & development) cos we already have players who dont qualify to be in development due to age, experience & otherwise! Besides, the very same metro league teams can form the league (not all of them obviously). At least when u embark on development u know where u are working towards. As things are, when u start on a development project, what will be your long term goal?

  22. sipho says:

    Did PBL collapse just because we ddnt have development?

    Is our national team not going to win the championship in Lybia just because we dont have development? The answer to this question is in Joe’s 3rd paragraph (Pls note “higher level”)

    I’m not, by any means, trying to downplay the importance of development, IT IS FUNDAMENTAL OF CAUSE! As a matter of fact I wanna be involved there, scientifically!

    No national association has money growing somewhere, however, THEY RAISE FUNDS!

  23. Joe says:


    Fact is PBL AND NOT BSA is responsible for Professional bball in which “higher level” should take place. Thus it is pointless for us to expect BSA to prepare the national players adequately as the professional league should play this role. As ballers we need to come to terms with the fact that BSA SHOULD NOT run Pro-ball.

    I am arguing that till PBL comes back we should NOT expect BSA and the National teams to perform miracles. BSA should concern itself with strengthning structures to facilitate the development of bball as this is its core mandate.

    In this regard I’m thinking national primary and high school leagues, tertiary league, coaches programmes. I am convinced that with enoung MILITANCY, these two programmes can be achieved by NEXT YEAR.

    I am further arguing that once these are established only then can we spend our energies screaming “high level.”


  24. sipho says:


    I agree BSA, like all other associations , should do something about development. My point was that BSA cant just & chill declare bakrupcy, they should raise funds to execute their functions like development. However I just feel having PBL will also help in further improving the current crop of ballers (in terms of competition) & youngsters will have a clear dream. I dont insinuate that a pro league will make us world-beaters today but the same kids in development structures will be motivated knowing that there a higher level for them to aspire to be at!

    Imagine being a youngster in basketball academy in SA with no pro league!! This simply means that u are being developed for GBL… I mean really now! Why would any1 want to be developed for something that wont take care of his/her livelyhood! At 17 u’ll be a gr8 propect but then what??????????


  25. Coach Pat says:

    Fellow Coaches,

    Joe is absolutely right – the key is developement of our youth, BSA MUST create regional structures and national team competition year round for ALL AGE GROUPS.


    1. Establish ITC centres in each region manned by BSA representatives (part time) would be a start! Ideally a two court facility becomes the regional hub of basketball.

    2.BSA should include all parties in a workshop, take advice, listen to suggestions from the ground and formulate a strategy.

    3. BSA create a national coaching programme for the various age groups, ensure year-round competition as I proposed.

    All this will mushroom into so many good things and opportunities. Coaches will learn, manage better and start the snowball rolling.

    Many years ago I was told by the Aussie Men’s Team National Coach Barry Barnes – ” As coaches, if we wait for administrators to grow the game it will never happen!!!”

    As coaches WE need to make it happen – I would gladly present a workable, cost-effective solution to BSA based on sound principles and a proven working model from Basketball Australia to kick start development. I would even help them with ab budget to present to The Dept.of Sport. They have this basic outline already from me!! If they go through it thoroughly they will see it can be implemented and it will help our game grow – it just needs committment and hard work from the executive.

    All they need to do is direct the funding into the right channels. ie. regional structures, inter provincial tournaments and junior and senior national teams.
    We must stop selecting teams that never compete!!!

    Let the PBL be run by business-wise individuals with proven track records and not franchise owners and let BSA remaining the mother body, sitting on this PBL board AT ALL TIMES guiding and ensuring the PBL contributes to the amateur game!!!

    Oops – opening a can of worms methinks!!!