South Africa's basketball community

Do we value team South Africa?

By on September 1, 2009 in News

The senior men’s team recently took part in the African Championship in Libya. Despite this being an opportunity for South Africa to go out there and create relationships with other African nations and see how we could learn from them, our national body Basketball South Africa (BSA) missed that opportunity with various blunders along the way… Then there was the Florida State University visit to our shores that went unnoticed, well almost but BSA didn’t cover itself in glory in that scenario either (No proper kit, lack of proper communication).

With BSA being in office for almost a year, there have been a lot of positive to come out of this new regime and other things that have remained the same or gotten worse. With everyone waiting to see what structures and plans that they would put in place to lift the sport from it’s smouldering ashes, I feel that they might have missed an opportunity to engage the various stake holders and get the help that they need.

Anyway I would like to focus on the men national teams that have had a rough time of late. If there is a positive to come out of the new regime, it is the amount of games that the various national teams have participated in. From the U16s competing in Zimbabwe with dignity to our ladies senior team qualifying outright for the African Championship later this year and the Men senior team going to represent the country in Libya.

That’s was quite the busy program for the teams but the thing that BSA didn’t look at is the finer details, it’s all good to say that we are taking part in competitions all over the world but if you don’t take care of how the teams will prepare leading up to such events or how they will get to those events and be treated then they might as well not enter and save everyone the headache involved. This is why I believe that instead of jumping onto all these tournaments, BSA would have been better served making sure that the various structures within the national setup are ready for international competition. I am sure that the players and coaches would have been ok to wait another year without competition if they knew that when it eventually came back it was going to be worth it.SA men’s senior team

“When you send your child to a school outing, you expect that the school will be responsible of their well being, same thing applies with any national team. When we sent these gentleman to represent the country at an international event we expected the federation (in basketball’s case BSA) to look after their well being so that they would only have to worry about events on the court, unfortunately it turned out to be a scandalous rollercoaster for our boys”

While other teams had been preparing for this event for months, the boys got together a week before the tournament and then they were expected to go out there and produce miracles… BSA said that this was due to finances or something along those lines (I did enquire about this via email but couldn’t get official comment on this). The team went to Libya where they were pitted against the hosts Libya, and 2 African powerhouses in Nigeria and Cote D’Ivoire who would go on to make the finals against eventual winners Angola.

The experience in Libya wasn’t as rosy as it might have sounded with obstacles on and off the court to put it mildly. When the team sought out some help from BSA officials, they were no where to be found with the usual cellphone being off method the order of the day. Some of the people that made the trip up north said that it was probably one of the worst experiences that they had on tour with a South African team…

Just to give you an idea of what the team had to go through in Libya and please note I got this information from various people (media, spectators, and people that went to the Libya event etc…) so it is true.

Among the degrading experiences that the team had to endure in Libya:

  1. Team couldn’t get a translator to help them during the tournament, because BSA hadn’t paid the tournament fees.
  2. How can you have a five day camp for a national team? The minimum team training camp was 3 weeks.
  3. Coaches ended up being psychologist instead of coaching because the morale was low
  4. Team had to endure daily evictions threat (due to non payment of competition fees $16000).
  5. No allowances payment to players, medics, physiotherapist and coaches (Congo the last team in the competition earned R20000)
  6. All the other eliminated teams figured a way to departed home, Team SA stayed six days (only sleeping and eating), players morale was so low they only watch games from TV even though the match venue was 5 minutes away.
  7. There was a lack of transparency and communication, BSA had switch of their phones. When the team was nearly thrown in the street the Embassy had to intervene.
  8. To avoid us running their passports were confiscated (making it even more personal)
  9. Team could not even go sightseeing, first the federation would not release the bus due to unpaid fees and secondly they didn’t have their travel documents because they had been confiscated (there was road block every way)
  10. Back home players were dropped at Park station; they could not even pay their way home after that.

Absolutely everyone in that team was broken and degraded somehow.

I have been sitting on this story for a few weeks now while I gathered as much information as possible and despite not getting any comment from the federation, the public needs to know how the team was treated and how they had to battle adversity on their travel to represent South Africa overseas. Let’s hope we learn that these gentlemen are representing a whole nation when they put on the national team jersey and incidents such as these reflect badly on brand South Africa and on the image we are trying to give our sport.

Article by Victor Shakineza

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There Are 36 Brilliant Comments

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  1. baller says:


    may you please repeat what you said about $2.5m. please be specific so that we understand what is meant for and who does it go to. this is serious money you talking about and i bet most of us are not even aware.

  2. sipho says:

    If what Thami is saying is actually true, GOODNESS GRACIOUS ME!!!! What????????????

  3. Yani says:

    hey V…pls put a post up on when and where the next “district” meeting is…i’d love to attend…thanx!!!

  4. Joe says:


    I think YOU are still missing the point.

    It is YOUR responsibility to find out if there is district association in your area and who is the exec. If it does exist, it is YOUR responsibility to then affiliate with the district association and request a meeting as per the constitution. If it DOES NOT exist, it YOUR responsibility to form one and ensure that it functions.

  5. Yani says:

    hi to you to joe…

    …a lil background – I HAVE…i’m around ball erery wkend by choice and its not just a pasttime for me and everyone i’ve asked doesn’t seem to know w@ i’m talkin bout…

    …if all else fails…as it clearly has…I ask the one person who has kept me informed for the past year or so & t@s V…so this is me tryna inform myself…i mean if t@s ok w/ you…i mean i cd be wrong BUT this was a public forum last time i checked…

    nonetheless…you can quit w/ the cap locks and the sarcasm…while i try INFORM MYSELF…

  6. Joe says:


    Apologies if I have offended, but the caps are not directed at you specifically but at all the ballers who have the same thought as you, therefore to rephrase:

    I think BALLERS are still missing the point.

    It is OUR responsibility to find out if there is district association in OUR area and who is the exec. If it does exist, it is OUR responsibility to then affiliate with the district association and request a meeting as per the constitution. If it DOES NOT exist, it OUR responsibility to form one and ensure that it functions.

  7. Yani says:


    …none taken…

    but this is me takin a YET ANOTHER STEP in t@ direction i.e. tryna inform myself…however i get you…and you’re right…if i don’t find any district…then it will be up to me to try and start one…


  8. Joe says:


    May I also suggest that you contact BSA or GBA to help you in the right direction. If you do not get any answers call me at 072 438 1713 I will help.

  9. Yani says:

    …thanks…much appreciated 🙂

  10. ET says:

    Yani , u a darn lawyer neh!! all of that to get joes numbers, Lol!!! Joking!!
    Good one though, i know if you part of that association with your experience and lawyer skills we will see changes…

  11. Yani says:

    …you such a clown E…lol…anyway gotta put my degree to use…whichever way i can!!

    …hope you pull ur own weight and do the same too cause we need some ballers in the association…