South Africa's basketball community

SA Men’s Basketball National Team coach appointed

By on September 27, 2014 in News
George Makena | Photo by Frennie Shivambu

George Makena | Photo by Frennie Shivambu

Following back-to-back Basketball National League title success with the Tshwane Suns, team coach George Makena has been handed a new challenge by the country’s basketball governing body.

Basketball South Africa has given Makena the task of guiding the men’s national team, a role that the veteran coach is relishing.

With the sport slowly regaining its place in the South African psyche, the appointment could not have come at a better time for Makena as a professional league is in its second year.

The coach will have a wide pool of players to select from. “I’m excited about it, it’s a new challenge. We have National Open Championships going on right now and from that tournament we have 20 players to select. It will consist mostly of youngsters as we are looking to build a team for the future,” said Makena, who will take on the dual roles of the Suns coach and of the national team.

“There won’t be a negative impact, I will still coach the Suns and we haven’t received the league fixtures for next season.
“There isn’t much difference between coaching a club and a national team, the game is still played the same and on the same kind of court.”

Over the years the South African team has been one of the also-rans in continental competitions, but Makena hopes during his tenure he will break that mould and create a team that would stand shoulder to shoulder with the continent’s most successful team – Angola.

Although Makena has not been mandated to qualify for next year’s Afrobasket in Tunisia and the All Africa Games to be held in Congo Brazzaville next year, he wants to ensure that his team will play in the qualifiers for these tournaments to get as much exposure and know what is required to be competitive at this level of the game.

The Suns coach said he and his technical team needed to get the ball rolling in preparation for the FIBA Zone 6 (Southern African region) qualifiers. The host country and dates are however still to be determined by Fiba Africa.

“That is the ultimate goal, to compete with the best on the continent, but that will be two to three years down the line. We have quality players in the BNL. We will be monitoring their progress and will be gathering for a training camp in three weeks,” said the 51-year-old coach.

Makena, who’s been involved in basketball for two decades, will be assisted by Limpopo Pride coach Sinky Mphahlele and Western Mountaineers coach Craig Daniels.

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