Basketball Sport

Basketball clubs should invest in establishing academies

HOOPS! with KAONA MWEMBE
IT has been a source of conflict amongst clubs when it comes to player transfers.
This subject that has been discussed before but all this arises from lack of team efforts in identifying and developing talent and instead take the easy route out by recruiting polished materials from rival clubs a situation that calls for the establishment of academies.
As long as the status quo remains as it stand there will be little attention given to promising stars of tomorrow and at the end of the day, the national picture will be poorly developed players.
It is my contention that within their structures, teams must develop academies and have youth teams that will compete in leagues such as the Youth Basketball League in Lusaka and the Copperbelt Youth Basketball league.
Other provinces could do well to replicate such arrangements.
Some individuals like Joseph Chowa and Mweshi Munatamba have been frustrated victims of losing personnel after nurturing them from scratch and end up losing them to vulture clubs, with no compensation at all.
Most teams today unlike yester-years side have relied heavily on recruiting players from other teams.
It is quite common to find a player identified with one club today featuring for another next season and so on.
It rarely happened in the nineties and before in fact it was considered ‘treason’ to switch loyalties unless in pressing circumstances like by reason of employment or graduating from school – leaving University or college.
Players then developed a deep sense of loyalty to the teams that picked them from schools, whether secondary, college or university.
When I managed Premium Hawks, then known as the academy of Zambian basketball, an attempt was made to get Billy Banda from Bank of Zambia Heroes, even with a job offer but his loyalty to his club caused him to stay, though we did lose Felix ‘Crankshaft’ Mukungwa to Heroes.
It was unthinkable of the likes of late Mateyo Nkana to be in Hawks line up today and switch to say Lusaka City Council Looters.
As a result of the stability, players developed their talents to the fullest under the tutelage of the club coaches though few had junior or developmental sides.
But most players came from the schools system with club sides offering help where they could especially in terms of exposure for players, just like it was with football, when the country had school boys’ internationals’.
Senior club coaches may understandably be too busy to step down and coach age limit teams but in the same vein they should be able to have peer and youth coaches to deal with young athletes aspiring to be basketball players.
It all buys into the Long Term Athlete Development system which structures how a player should be developed from a very tender to mature age.
With youth structures in place there is greater chance for a well-developed basketball image in the country.
Have a blessed week! mdkao¬na@gmail.com

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