South Africa's basketball community

2012 the year that was or was not in basketball…

By on February 26, 2013 in News

I have been out of the game for about a year or so and watching the game from the outside, I can see that there has been a few changes; some positive and negative in 2012.

Basketball South Africa (BSA)

There have been a few changes in the basketball federation and we had all hoped for a “wind of change” effect with this new administration but little progress was made in 2012. This all feels like vicious circle, like a wave of hope that keeps coming up and crashes down as soon as there is some sort of light at the end of the tunnel. The “suspended” members of the old BSA board are still actively involved and there is no update on the investigation that was supposed to take place.The minister of Sport, Fikile Mbalula, proclaimed on TV during the Basketball without Borders gala in 2012, that basketball would never be the same and that it would have some sort of competitive league running by the end of 2012. This proclamation gave hope to all the ballers out there but in the end I suppose the federation was in no position to follow through on that commitment from the government. Be that it was due to financial constraints, bad/no planning there is still no official national league at the moment. The plan was for the whole country to be involved by March 2013, but yet nothing.

Some of the IPTs were cancelled on such short notice, and the few tournaments that did take place didn’t get the credit, attention or mention that was deserved. The main blame for these cancellations always comes down to finance issues, but how can we as basketball expect funding when most of the time there is no proper planning or administration to plan for the game in the long term.

There was mention of a college league supported or in partnership with the National Basketball Association but that also fell through for various reasons. So the only thing that universities and other tertiary institutions can look forward to is local tournaments and intervarsity competition. The standard of the USSAs, which is the main tournament for universities, is dropping every year due to a dropping standard in administration (referees, organizer, etc…), competitive level across the country. With the older generation of pure ballers falling by the way side, the torch is being switched off instead of being passed on to the next generation.

The national teams have taken a back seat and only a few of the players are playing in competitive leagues/tournament to maintain their standards.

One of the few positives in 2012 was the series of coaching clinics done throughout the country with grading given to coaches, but was this done with a bigger picture in mind? And what now for those coaches that have received their grading? Only a handful will go on and use that training to further their careers in the sport and most will be applied at high school level which is a plus for the future generation.

NBA Africa

Basketball Without Borders South Africa celebrated 10 years in 2012 and this successful program has survived the turmoil of South African basketball and to date, we haven’t been able to maximize and use the presence of such a program to kick start basketball in this country.

We have seen so many of the NBA stars come to our shores year in and year out but as soon as they are done with the program, the media hype and euphoria surrounding the event subsides and basketball is put on the backburners again and focus shifts to other sports.

In 2012, NBA Africa revamped 3 courts in Alexandra Township and ran a clinic for about 100 kids and they are still running the Royal Bafokeng NBA development program which is almost into its second year. Hopefully we get some talented youngsters coming out of these efforts.

The work done by the NBA should be commended because like so many events and leagues around the country there is only an isolated effort to try and keep the sport alive and our national federation should try and streamline all these efforts to work out a national plan and provide guidelines to these efforts to make sure that the image and the interest of our game are upheld at all times.

Leagues and tournaments

So far there are only 3 leagues that I am aware of that are still running around the country, in Gauteng, the GUBL “Gauteng University Basketball League” which ran with a bit of controversy in 2012 was one of the positives along with the CBL for the corporate ballers; and then in Western Cape, there is the Western Cape Basketball League which runs every year with a few hiccups but seems to maintain a yearly ritual. In the other provinces, there is an eerie silence on what is going on but they seem to wake up when there is a national team to be selected or a tournament to attend.  There were a few tournaments to keep the club teams involved and to mention a few of the regulars, Ashraf Tournament, CBL etc… but the nation is starving for an organized school, tertiary, amateur and professional league.

Looking back at the USSA tournament, in the ladies section it seems as though the teams and the competitive level has evened up and the various provinces are on par. The men’s section are still dominated by Gauteng.

What support does USSA national and BSA provide the various leagues and ventures? When last did you see anyone attend a tournament or a game in their official capacity? I mean you don’t even see them at finals anymore.  Some of the big guns attended the NBA gala event this year and made positive announcements but as soon as the camera and limelight was gone, so was any hope of real progress.

At this point in time our future lies with the younger generation; they need to be given proper guidance, coaching, mentoring and opportunities if basketball is to survive and get back to some level where we can be proud to be part of it. We need to get the right administrators with the right attitude and vision to take the game to the next level and bring it out of this dark and sad phase.

They always say that no one will come fix your problem and if you sit around and wait for someone nothing will happen. The basketball community in South Africa needs to fix basketball in South Africa. NO one owns the game but we all have a piece of it in us. We are stronger as a WHOLE.

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There Are 2 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Yes, there is a need for coaches commission in SA! One streamlined approach to coaching for private and community and developmental clubs,

  2. GLORY says:

    So this means that for the club teams, there won’t be any League running this year?