HOOPS! with MWEMBE KAONA
PERHAPS there is need to go back to the drawing board and define a coaching philosophy that will take Zambian basketball to higher heights.
Especially when we come so close yet so far against the likes of African giants Angola, whose higher education national team beat our boys to bag a gold medal last Friday.
This was the line of thought and reflection after an expected gold medal result turned silver in the menâ€™sâ€™ decisive fixture between Angola and Zambia at the just-ended 17th Confederation of Universities and Colleges Sports Association games.
After convincing wins against Malawi, South Africa and Zimbabwe in the early stages of the competition, hopes were high that for a change Zambia would overcome its north-western neighbours in an official international fixture.
The home side were beaten 49 – 63 by a more tactically disciplined opposing side who were no real threat in terms of play but merely made their chances count when the opportunity fell in to their laps.
Angolaâ€™s cutting edge was their basic basketball characterised by aggressive play, tactical application and accurate shooting areas where the hosts failed to tick.
Local coaches Mweshi Munatamba and Cuthbert Tembo observed that the home team were not hungry for the ball and were not aggressive enough when it came to contesting for the ball.
For instance, for each basket Zambia scored ,their opponents made sure their hit back either twice as hard or just one strike to cancel the basket reaped by their adversaries.
On the free throw line, the statistics were in favour of the visitors, who enjoyed a scoring rate of close to 100 percent hence to foul them with a view to halt their plan was suicidal.
Former Zambia Basketball Association president Mayford Chikoya, an accomplished power forward in his playing days with the defunct Zamsure â€“ Ndola, refused to blame the boys for their performance.
His assessment pointed to the foundation from which they learnt their basketball, citing poor impartation of basics as their handicap.
In his view, it was therefore limited as to what head coach Mwape Konsolo and his assistant Paul Mwale could do in terms of getting the team to avoid turnovers through missed shots, incomplete passes and failed lay-ups.
Daniel Chawelwa a qualified Internation,al Olympic Committee trained basketball coach who I know is very passionate about player development, expressed the view that with a little more exposure Zambian basketball could hit the mark but on the other hand, he wondered whether lessons were being learnt from rubbing shoulders against Angolan sides.
As recently as 2013, the country hosted the Zone Six Club Championships with three top Angolan menâ€™s side in the competition.
Chawelwa wondered why the game has not changed for the better despite the kind of display that was seen on home soil.
It is a challenge to all technical personnel to gauge and adjust the Zambian philosophy, hence the ongoing coach development system being implemented should provide some direction.
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HOOPS! with MWEMBE KAONA