South Africa's basketball community

Ladies game at crossroads, what does the future hold?

By on June 7, 2017 in News

Just before the Afrobasket 2017 qualifiers games played in Zambia and subsequently in South Africa, the post of national team coach for the Men was advertised and Craig Gilchrist was selected. Why wasn’t the same process followed for the ladies?

Yes we had a new administration in place and if it was a chance for a new start, why wasn’t the same process or principle applied to both teams?

We heard about the debacle with the ladies team leading up to the qualifiers in Mozambique and they eventually didn’t end up going. There were reports of logistical issues and internal issues within the ladies camp with some of the senior ladies refusing the call up or not being selected. Yes it was a chance to rebuild the team with some of the younger ladies but Basketball in South Africa seems to keep doing the same mistakes over and over hoping for a different outcome. Some of the older players understand the road travelled to get here and although it is time to pass the torch on to the younger eager players, there has to be some history lessons shared so that they understand that it is not as straight forward as this. The ladies game is in limbo at the moment with no real plan for the future, no national team coach, no league on the national stage and not being exposed to african competition for the next forceable future. With the focus being on the Men’s team who qualified for Afrobasket, I doubt anyone is paying attention.

Personal interests have overtaken the national interests and the ones that will suffer are the young boys and girls that are taking up the sports in high school. The coaching and officiating hasn’t developed and the handful of good coaches are slowly fading out of the game into other professions. Their sacrifices have gone unnoticed or unrewarded and now with some of these individual initiatives (Tournaments, Coaching clinics, academies) around the country, there is no direction, accountability or leadership provided by the mother body.

BNL (Basketball National League) has given this latest generation hope, but some of the older players have seen this all before, PBL, LOP, GUBL to name a few of the initiatives that were around in the past and faded without a proper plan for the future and integration into a national program. Talking of BNL, ladies were clearly an after thought or not planned properly. Last years attempt to run a “Gauteng womens league” next to the BNL was an insult to the other ladies across the country putting in the work and didn’t give the ladies the platform to develop and compete at the highest level against their peers from various provinces. Let’s hope that this is taken into consideration if they are to grow the sport for the ladies in preparation for their re-entry into future african competitions.

The current state of our game in South Africa, is like our soccer counterparts throughout Africa that seem to always have money issues when they are qualifying or have qualified for major tournaments. Basketball is always in this conundrum of financial mess that never ends; so teams are selected and the basics are not provided or resolved before the players are called up.

Players play for the love of the game, for a chance to work with an amazing coach and to represent their country. With a better structure around them, basketball can only grown from strength to strength and the young boys and girls can take the game to the next level. We have amazing ladies trying to maintain the high standards of the game at every level and have become respected professionals in their fields and they should be roped in to help provide the support and structure the game needs.

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