Let’s assist in rehabilitating sports facilities at schools

Hoops! with Mwembe Kaona
MOST playing surfaces in schools are in a bad state and need repair.
This came to light last week when a reader of this column wrote to advise that his school old boys association was working on rehabilitating a basketball court, a move which has prompted me to say it is time a culture of giving back to our schools was practised to help development of sports like basketball.
Michael Kalaluka, formerly of Kafue Boys Secondary School, is treasurer of the basketball sub committee of the schools’ old boys association which has some interesting names in its membership and a project they are embarking on is the resurfacing of the basketball court at the institution.
His colleagues on the committee include ex-UNZA Pacers’ and now Lusaka lawyer Mutakela Lisimba whilst the school can boast of having produced names like Zambia’s first export to the South African premier basketball league Francis Makai and Juba Banda, another former Pacers, who later played for Premium Hawks.
Material used for the construction of most basketball courts in our institutions of learning has been a concrete finish though some like Kabulonga Boys are on a tarmac surface .
A few that have indoor facilities enjoyed parquet surface but over time with lack of maintenance and invasion of termites the original touch has been lost.
Very few secondary schools today give priority to sports despite government policy in that direction. Therefore, the state of basketball courts is saddening.
I am sure it is this emotional site that prompted Kalaluka and friends to give back to their old play ground that was the foundation of their basketball career. Good job comrades!
In most parts of the world, especially countries like the United States of America, it is the alumni (old boys and girls) associations that render support to schools, as former students who hold influential positions in society use their status to mobilise support for them.
Students, past and present, are what any school should be all about because students are unique in that they will forever fill a role—whether they are current students or long graduated.
They create the school’s reputation, which relies in large part on how successful graduates are in the real world.
Alumni also help sustain the schools through donations and volunteerism where the costs of staying afloat are quite high but a big chunk of that could be financed from alumni donations.
Sometimes, large donations allow schools to provide students with newer technology, better facilities, and a nicer campuses which in turn keeps them competitive and appealing.
It is for this reason that I feel schools like Chipembi Girls, Kabulonga, Kitwe Boys and Munali, to name a few, should not struggle to have decent sports facilities or equipment with the kind of students they have produced.
Basketball jerseys and equipment such as balls, whistles and stop watches which are affordable can actually come from one single donor.
It would revolutionise the state of our game at school level if a thought was given back.
Have a blessed week!

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