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Zone VI: Chat with Zimbabwe ladies coach and the ladies captain

By on January 15, 2011 in News

During the Zone VI qualifiers taking place in Pretoria, Mybasketball sat down with the Zimbabwean National ladies coach, Ronald Garura and his captain, Fadzai  Mabasa and here is what they had to say:

Interview with Ronald Garura

Ronald Garura

Going into today’s game (Zimbabwe vs. Mozambique, game 1) what would you say that the player’s mindset was as well as yours? Umm… I think we really have the same mind-set going into every game, we respect our opponents but we do not fear them. We go out there and give it our best and play according to our plan, that way we can assess if we achieved our goals- whatever the outcome of our game.

Coach on offense you have some good players, if you could tell me about 3 players that earned a mention in this game (Zimbabwe vs. Mozambique, game 1). I honestly can’t pick any three because they all performed very, very well and above a lot of the things they were given to do. We actually changed a few things throughout the game and they adapted very well but I think you cannot take-out the leadership of Fadzai Mabasa, you cannot take-out the enthusiasm of Rachel and those players want to play and compete and the good thing is that it is rubbing off onto the other players.

Your team plays with a lot of heart, how do you achieve that drive? You know… ultimately Zimbabwean basketball our main thing is defense even from high school we really enforce the values of defense so our players learn to love defense and they want to play defense.

What would you have liked your team to do differently? In all honestly, I am pleased with the performance of the team. They are very young. We have four seniors who are not over 25; we have three U/18’s and two U/20’s so I am pleased with the progress that we have made that we have been able to contain a powerhouse like Mozambique and only lose it in the last 45 seconds.

Your next game is against South Africa, will you be doing anything differently? Yes, I think we will. A little tweak here and there as no two teams are alike so the way we prepare for one team will not be the same as the other. We have a different mindset for South Africa.

As a coach what would you say is your most memorable game that you have coached? Wow… There are soo many games. The last twelve years I have been coaching the men’s team and this is my first time coaching the women’s team. I think if I had to pick a game it was at the 2007 qualifiers in Harare where we took every team including Mozambique and only losing by four points. I love coaching and every game is memorable to me.

Interview with the Captain:

Going into today’s game (Zimbabwe vs. Mozambique, game 1) what would you say that the player’s mindset was? You know what; we just take them as any other team that we will play on any other ordinary day. We went out strong and surely gave them a run for their money.

As a captain, how do you keep your team motivated and keep pushing until the last second? I think it is all thanks to our coach who helps us believe in ourselves and what it takes to be a basketball captain. Also having faith and believing that we are not quitters and can do anything.

At what age did you start playing basketball and why? I never used to play basketball; I mean I knew about it. I used to be an athlete for 100m, 200m as well as netball. At school, one of the coaches saw me and invited me to play and then with time I became a player. I found the game interesting I mean unlike netball we had to bounce a ball and from there I just started making team, provincial, national and just growing from strength to streght until obviously my injuries have slowed me down but if I would say an exact time I would say in 1999 during my O-levels.

At what age did you make a national team? The very first year I started playing I made the schools national team

As a basketball player, it consumes a large part of your life. How do you find a balance between basketball and life? Actually it was not a challenge in the past, but having being in university I have had to make sure that what I do on and off the court will actually be beneficial. Actually it is just a matter of time management and putting time into the sport because it is the sport that makes me who I am and it is because of basketball that I am here and have had the opportunities I got, you know we also have the grassroots projects which you learn a lot and not only basketball related stuff we also learn a lot about how to prevent yourself from drinking and other pressures in life. I also learn a lot from players as every other player will tell you their problems, how they solved them as well as ask for solutions so from that we learn from each other. Instead of seeking professional help through each other we learn a lot.

What would you say is one strength and weakness that your team has? Our strength is that we have a very young team and their so enthusiastic and the few seniors that are there are actually there to help them keep their basketball alive. I would say that the weakness would be, umm… immaturity. At time immaturity plays a role and in times like today’s game (Zimbabwe vs. Mozambique, game 1) we could have won but because of Mozambique’s experience, I don’t know what they did to make us lose focus but had we managed to keep our tempo we could have won and also at the end, we didn’t give up but there was an element of giving up, sigh, I still think that we are strong team.

What would you have like the team to do differently? If everyone would always believe that they are players and there for a reason, not always wanting to be pushed. I believe that we should all take responsibility to be the leaders because at time players would relax and say it is fine Fadzi is on the court etc and I also want it to be that when I take bench the standard on court should remain. That is what I would ask from the team.

Your next game is against South Africa, will you be doing anything differently? We just going  to bring our game on, play the same game we did against Zambia and Mozambique and just, to me it feels like we are progressing and taking that to South Africa after our loss today, IT IS ON!

Now you as a player, what more can we see or expect from you in the future? Despite my inuries, I would really love to stay with basketball an I even see myself coaching basketball. I have seen a lot of teams that do not have female coaches and our coach inspires us all the time saying “guys you don’t have to retire, why not just take part in however way you can.” So, if not referring then coaching because when I think about it, if it wasn’t because of basketball I would not have gotten far with my education so I want to give back. I would even host like little workshops and coach as we know people that can help those that want to play basketball and contribute to that.

In Zimbabwe what problem do you think exists in basketball? I think one of the challenges is trust from the parents, there is that stereotype… I guess in all sports there is that element of mischief and with girls you have to try convince your parent that you’re going to play and then they find out that one of your friends are pregnant so that makes them think it is because of the sport and thus will want to keep us at home. Sponsorship as well because in many of the teams we will see people who have heart but cannot afford to bring themselves to the game e.g transport issues. I wish things were different and that we would have better facilities and a support group that helps with sports in Zimbabwe.

If the ladies do qualify, what will the response be back at home? The last time we went was when the games were at Algiers and now that they will be at the neighboring country, it will be very interesting and bring joy to the others and they will see that basketball is a good sport and despite our challenges we have made it and that way we can get more help and people involved.

What message would you gives to aspiring basketball player or anyone looking up to you and wants to one day play like you? Well I have always believed I can always make time for anyone who is passionate about sport, I may not be available when I get a chance I can help and give advice to which coaches to see. I will make time so whenever I get a chance they must just ring me up.

Article by Thembela

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