Basketball Sport

Basketball coach, referee differ on officiating standards

LAST week, Hawks coach took to social media to express his frustration at officiating standards.
He suggested that the current system of two-man officiating being used in the local league was outdated and should therefore be dispensed with and replaced by a three-man officiating system to improve the quality of officiating.
Oswald Kalamba is a retired FIBA referee who has opted to switch to coaching and seems to be doing well so far going by the strides his team has made in the last few years.
The three-man officiating system was adopted by the International Basketball Federation over a decade ago initially applied in high level competitions while member countries had the option of using it at their will.
Lately, it has become a requirement that all high level competitions at continental, regional and zonal be handled with three instead of two officials on the court.
When the system was introduced by FIBA Basketball, referees around the world had to get used to working with not one but two partners on the court which has its advantages and disadvantages.
For the sake of getting quality officiating, it is a good system but for our local set-up the challenge is lack of manpower as very few have taken up refereeing and the numbers do not allow for each game to have three on court officials otherwise it would be good for the game.
Further, there are few qualified match officials which calls for acceleration in the area of referee development.
Kalamba’s cry is in order but national referee Eustus Bili feels it is rather late to switch because all throughout the season, games were handled by two officials.
Contributing on the subject USA born former FIBA referee Pat Resenow once wrote that good physical condition is not as important in a three-referee crew because , the total distance a referee may have to run during a game might be a bit less with three referees.
However, referees still have to be quick enough to get to the right spot. With a three-referee crew, there is almost no excuse for the lead referee to be beaten on a fast break by any player.
Amount of shape or overweight referee loses respect whether he or she is on a three or two man crew therefore it is just as important to be in shape in a three-referee system.
In a three-referee system the number of infridgements usually missed is reduced by a large percentage thus giving the game a fairer touch to both sides who seek balance in officiating standards.
However, as recommended during the development of the draft league and competition rules, one remedy to the low number of referees is for each club to register two person to be trained and assigned as match officials.
On a closing note, let me thank former Zanaco Footbal Club defender Desmond Mg’awa for his compliments over this column.
He is a keen reader.
I met Mg’awa at National Sports Development Centre in Lusaka last Saturday and it was good to know that those that have plied other sports are keen followers of basketball.
Have a blessed week!

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