South Africa's basketball community

FIBA report on Basketball in South Africa

By on May 20, 2010 in News

Prepared by Zoran Radovic (FIBA development director) in Geneva, 27”’ April 2010

fiba logobsa_logoMeetings held on various occasions:

  1. Basketball South Africa 2010 visit, Johannesburg
  2. Basketball Without Borders 2006/2009 camps, Johannesburg
  3. NBA Africa reception 2010, Dallas, USA
  4. Afrobasket men 2009, Tripoli, Libya
  5. University Games 2009, Belgrade, Serbia


  1. Malesela Maleka, BSA President
  2. Malumbete Ralethe, BSA Vice President
  3. Zanele Ngwenya, Member of the Board
  4. Ms Ntombizanele Papa, Member of the Board
  5. Tsepo Nyewe, National Administrator
  6. Board of BSA
  7. Charles Saunders, Wheelchair BSA
  8. Flosheim Mlungisi Ngwenya, BSA National Team Coach
  9. ‘Thierry Kita, Hoops 4 Hope
  10. Craig Daniels, Coach
  11. Michael Finley, Managing Director, Miles &Associates
  12. Myke Scholl, Detroit Pistons African Scout
  13. Ms Ezra Tshabangu, General Manager, High Performance, SASCO
  14. Leon Fleiser, Manager Team Preparation, SASCO
  15. Kaya Majeke, Manager Team Preparation, SAX0
  16. Graham Abrahams, Chairmen of PBL
  17. Caby Cabanelas, Vice President PBL
  18. Dion Karagiannis, Board Member PBL
  19. Al Feinstein, Sport Consultant
  20. Otshinga Badibanga, former head Coach of University of Johannesburg
  21. Vusi Mgobhozi, former President BSA
  22. Cyril Zondi, former National Administrator
  23. Richard Andriessen, former Board Member of BSA
  24. Quentin Robinson, President of Masters Basketball BSA
  25. Boban Petrovic, former Player of PBL, former Coach
  26. Amadou Gallo Fall, Vice President Development Africa, NBA Africa
  27. John Manyo Plange, Senior Director, Marketing Properties, NBA Africa

Visits to:

  1. American School of Johannesburg, BWB camps held 2003/2009
  2. Wembley Sports Complex, office of BSA
  3. Mandeville Indoor Centre, home of Wheelchair BSA

Historical background, facts, figures and the current situation

Population of South Africa is around 50 mil people. South Africa is 25”’ country in the world by GDP and is divided into 9 provinces.

Basketball South Africa was created in 1953 but there was a major improvement between 1992 and 1994 when a Professional Basketball League with 8 teams was launched and operated until the season 1998-1999.

A Professional Basketball League (PBL) was modeled on the Australian NBL. BSA was included as a shareholder/partner in the franchise-owned business with financial contributions from PBL towards the promotion and development of basketball. PBL was the driving force behind basketball programs in that time.

Power games between BSA (that wanted to create its own league) and PBL ended at the High Court of South Africa and as a result, in the last I1 years, PBL operated only in the season 2006/2007.

The interim fight is mirrored by the results of South Africa senior teams at African Championships men and women and University Games (men and women). There is 93% probability that South Africa will finish last in all of those events if it participates.

BSA results at the Afrobasket men: senior men team has been 9th (out of 9 teams) in 1997, 12”’ (out of 12 teams) in 1999, 12th (out of 12 teams) in 2001,9th (out of 12 teams) in 2003, 12th (out of 12 teams) in 2005, 13th (out of 16 teams) in 2007 and 15th (out of 16 teams) in 2009.

BSA results at the Afrobasket women: senior women team has been 6th (out of 6 teams) in 1999, 9th (out of 12 teams) in 2003 and 11th (out of 12 teams) in 2009.

BSA results at the University Games men: university men’s team has been 16th (out of 17 teams) in 1995, 16th (out of 16 teams) in 1997, 19th (out of 23 teams) in 1999, 20th (out of 26 teams) in 2001, 17th (out of I9 teams) in 2003, 25th (out of 30 teams) in 2005, 24th (out of 24 teams) in 2007 and 25th (out of 25 teams) in 2009.

BSA results at the University Games women: university women’s team has been 15th (out of I6 teams) in 1995, 16th (out of 16 teams) in 1997, 16th (out of I6 teams) in 1999, 15th (out of 17 teams) in 2001, 17th (out of 17 teams) in 2003 and 20th (out of 20 teams) in 2005. Since the reduction of teams to 16 in the women’s competitions, South Africa did not participate in 2007 and 2009.

In April 2008 a Special General Meeting of BSA was held where the serving BSA Executive Committee was dissolved and an Interim Committee was elected and took charge of the BSA operations.

In October 2008 a new BSA President and Board was elected and took over the operations of BSA.

An audit was ordered by the Sports and Recreation Governmental Department which had to check BSA’s financial operations in the past. No funding can be made available from National Lottery and SASCO until the audit is approved. As a consequence, BSA has no funding for its operations.

BSA changed the previous Constitution and a new Constitution is under review. FIBA gave its comments and advised what should be changed and incorporated into the latest version. BSA has to implement those changes at the next General Assembly.

The image of basketball has been damaged in the light of the general public, the basketball community, potential investors and sponsors. The same is valid for PBL and its operations and franchise owners.

It is clear that basketball was used by a number of individuals for their own private interest and that BSA for years was not able to govern anything. It did not have the right people in place and could not channel interests, give directions, balance stakeholders, control its finances and do anything which would help basketball grow.

Basketball is ranked in the “B” category among sports in South Africa according to the SASCO. The National Lottery is funding specific projects (participation at the events, projects for development, etc) and the improvement of infrastructure. Out of the funding 10% can be used for administrative costs and, usually, the administrative staff is paid out of this money as there is no funding for full time and paid staff in the BSA office.

Provincial governments are funding provincial teams which would compete at the National Tournament. In some provinces local basketball enthusiasts are organizing competitions and youth leagues.

There is a competition among high schools (private and semi private, but not public) in some provinces, but this is not a common competition pathway right now for players. Plenty of players are going to the universities in USA and unofficial information indicates that there are currently 32 South African players who play in schools in USA (officially there are only 2 players in NCAA Division I, Chris Gabriel and Andrew Goba).

According to the research done by the governmental sports agencies, basketball is the sport of choice for kids and clearly should be a sport for the female population.

Basketball South Africa – Professional Basketball League

The base of basketball in South Africa could be PBL and this again could be a drive for other activities. There is a need for serious restructuring in the rules, regulations and contracts between BSA and PBL. BSA should deliver the right to run the League to the franchise/teams. It should let them run the competitions as they have the know-how and the ability to do it. At the same time, PBL has to work internally to do serious restructuring and renaming, and to reshape ownership structure and start everything from the beginning.

PBL has to change its name and present itself in a different way. It also has to look at the number of teams which should be 10 teams. These teams should include one team from Free State, Limpopo and Eastern Cape each, and have only one team from Cape Town. The league could be played in two conferences in order to be managed better and save costs. With 10 teams, the basketball reality would be satisfied. The possible time to run a League could be October to February and each team should be allowed to have 3 foreign players.

Each franchise/team has to comply with the South African business regulations (25% BEE) and the newly formed entity should have BSA as one of the shareholders with 25% ownership. This would be absolutely appropriate and would as well oblige BSA to take a serious part in the League business and share duties and responsibilities. The Participants Agreement has to be changed as well and mirror today’s reality. FIBA is willing and ready to help and facilitate the entire process.

A license fee and financial contribution from the League to the Federation has to be defined in a proper and more realistic way. Joint trust should be formed in order to monitor how the money delivered to BSA is spent.

Basketball South Africa-University Basketball League

There are currently 25 universities which are members of the University Federation. There could be more. They have excellent facilities around South Africa, but Universities do not compete in an organized manner. There is no university league right now and this could be an enormous opportunity and untapped potential for basketball in South Africa.

Universities start on 15th February and the University League for men and women should be played between 22nd March and 31st May each year (approximately). The games should be played on Tuesdays and Saturdays. In the above mentioned period there are approximately 20 slots for games. The FIBA Organizer can be used for all operational activities (players registration, licenses, nomination of the referees, schedule of games, live statistic, etc).

Western Cape (4 universities) should play 4 rounds (12 games).

Eastern Cape (4 universities) should play 4 rounds (12 games).

Gauteng (6 universities) should play 2 rounds (IO games).

Freestate, Limpopo and North West (6 Universities in total) should play in one group 2 rounds (10 games).

Kwazulu Natal (5 universities) should play 3 rounds (12 games).

The winner of each province would automatically qualify for the Final Eight. Only Gauteng, due to the strength of their university teams, would have another automatic spot. The Western Cape 2nd team and Eastern Cape 2nd team would play home and away on point difference for one additional spot for Final Eight. Free State, Limpopo and North West 2nd would play the same way against Kwazulu Natal 2nd team for the last spot in Final Eight. This is of course is subject to discussion and adjustment to reality, but it is one way to go.

After the regular season, the Final Eight for men and women should be played in one place during one weekend starting on Thursday and finishing on Sunday. This should be a university basketball gathering and could be used for additional basketball activities.

The key issue remains who will organize and run the League. This sounds like a great idea but the operational aspects and management remains an issue. This is a major obstacle right now and someone has to take charge. It has to be done in a fully professional and business way, setting the appropriate structure and with a credible approach. This could be a win-win situation for basketball in South Africa on the long term.

Basketball South Africa-office and administration

The office of BSA is at the Wembley Sports Complex and I would strongly advise BSA to move the office from there for now. BSA should move its office to the Mandeville Indoor Centre, home of Wheelchair BSA, where they could get office space including the use of meeting rooms for free in the next two-year period. BSA could use the Mandeville Indoor Centre and its facilities as well as the preparation of its junior teams and as a camp facility for trials.

BSA should, at the same time, ask the City of Johannesburg for help in obtaining the Wembley Sports Complex for its own use and submit all necessary applications to the City of Johannesburg (for permission) and to the National Lottery for funding for renovation of the complex.

The Wembley Sports Complex should be the home for basketball, the home of BSA and for the future PBL. All training camps should be held there and in one word this should be the BSA hub. Before looking for all permissions, BSA should check if public transportation is foreseen to pass by the Wembley Sports Complex as this is a huge problem right now and an obstacle for all activities.

It is clear that there is a need for a full time qualified administrator in the office of BSA. A post for a Secretary General/National Administrator cannot be given without a proper selection process and interviews. It should not be given as a favor or through relationships to the certain individuals. This should not be a social favor to anyone. BSA should find a way to have qualified, skilled administrators who would be able to run operations from the BSA office.

At this stage the real priority is to strengthen the administration and organization of the Federation. In order to consolidate its position and to do appropriate work BSA at this stage should simply focus on stabilizing the system, create propel ground for the future, work on legal and structural issues and at the same time communicate to all stakeholders all initiatives. Regular meetings with SASCO and National Lottery are a must. BSA has to be proactive and engage all capable basketball administrators to move basketball forward.

Immediate steps to be taken:

Amend and have a final proposal for the Constitution of BSA.

Define relationship between BSA and PBL. Possibly start the League in October 2010.

Move the office from Wembley Sports Complex to Mandeville Indoor Centre.

Hire a qualified Administrator to run day to day work of BSA.

Copy all educational material given by FIBA and distribute all over South Africa and start using FIBA Organizer.

Submit applications to the City of Johannesburg and National Lottery for the Wembley Sports Complex to be hub for basketball.

Submit applications for Olympic Solidarity programs (Team Support Grant, Development of Sports Structure and Technical course) to the SASCO.

Start preparation for the Youth Olympic Games (have trials, select players, coaches).

Clarify the Sports and Recreation audit of BSA and the next steps to be taken. Upon completion, submit proposals for preparation of U18 teams for Afrobasket if timeline permits.

Start preparation for running a university competition as of March 2011.

Open discussions with high school leagues and see where this fits-in with the overall structure.

Clarify the role of the provincial associations, possible funding from provincial governments for basketball coordinators in the province, start preparation on the Constitutions for provincial association, rules and regulations.

Implement membership cards and fees for all active able-bodied players.

FIBA should visit Basketball South Africa in the near future and the FIBA representatives (FIBA President/Secretary General and/or FIBA Africa President/ Secretary General) should meet with the Minister for Sports of South Africa and President of SASCO at a mutual convenience.

Article received from various unnamed sources and edited by Victor Shakineza

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There Are 6 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Jayson says:

    Now this is what I am talking about. Thanks for this report Victor. South Africa has the greatest potential for basketball in Africa! It will be realised in the near future. I am studying to be a part of this great movement.

  2. Sipho says:

    I hope somebody at the relevant office is taking this report seriously & we are gonna see ACTION….. VERY SOON. Everything contained in this report is NOT rocket science cos most of these issues have previously been raised in this very forum.

    I too love this game

  3. Belinda says:

    The sport cannot grow in this country, because
    1) there has been no coaching development programme running properly instituted courses for coaches. (that is since the last attempt with Patrick Fick – I cannot remember how long ago this is)
    2) there are not enough clubs interested in doing community based development – or maybe there are just not enough clubs
    3) primary schools and high schools should be the first target for development, if we can get more teachers and parents willing to coach (for which they must feel empowered) than the sport can grow exponentially.

    Everything gets done here at a last moment. There appears to be no adequate planning. We are halfway through the year and we still do not have a national events calender for this year.
    Are there any national events happening for clubs and for schools this year and the next few years?
    How about the national federation setting up a short term plan, a mid term plan and a long term plan?
    In the mean time local committees organize leagues and tournaments, but all seems to be very much in isolation.

  4. Basketballer says:


    Excellent points.

    I have played basketball for many years and love the sport.
    Just came back from 1 week in USA and they are going crazy for the playoffs and the NFL and Baseball 🙂

    I represented my province and played in the school and club tournaments. USASSA and Milo club ball.

    Today, b-ball has made me a successful person in many rights. I owe it to the game.

    The sport is moving in the right direction and this FIBA report is a step in the right direction. It identifies the weaknesses and proposes plans to rectify them.
    This shows we are moving closer to executing a solid plan. Well done I say.

    I want to be part of making a difference. This site is brilliant and we need to put it outthere. Who wants to contribute by sending to interested people.

    I play everyday and have taught many people how to be an almost perfect player in a few days.

    Surely, there are others who would like to be a part of this and assist with taking basketball to another level in South Africa

    I have written to GBA and this is a small except from my letter to him.

    “I am sure that I echo the sentiments of many South Africans who loves the sport and cannot wait for Basketball to take off in this country. The sport is just what we as South Africans need. Together with all the sports (Soccer, Rugby, Cricket, Swimming, Athletics), Basketball has the potential to change our country in a time where we need to make a difference to our youth of this country. We need to distract them from all things bad in society and pave the way for a positive future where they will take South Africa to the next level in a time of global financial turmoil, where surprisingly South Africa is not that bad off compared to others.

    If there's any one who needs help or advice in any type of baskteball coaching etc. Let me know.

    You can contact me on

    Thanks, Lets make this happen. With the fever of 2010, it will be easy to keep that sporting spirit and momentum going.

    We can all make a difference. I was amazed at the patriotism of the Americans. People of all race, colour, creed, ages come together more often than not.
    What more can one ask for????

  5. MJ says:

    Blah, blah, blah… Here we go again doing what we do best TALK and as a famous saying goes TALK IS CHEAP. GBA organised meetings recently, how people attended?

  6. MJ says:

    Blah, blah, blah… Here we go again doing what we do best TALK and as a famous saying goes TALK IS CHEAP. GBA organised meetings recently, how people attended?