HOOPS! with MWEMBE KAONA
AS early as 05:00 hours when the newspaper went viral, there were some reactions to last weekâ€™s column where I looked at the forthcoming preliminaries of the 2017 AfroBasket Championship and the heat was more on the issue of womenâ€™s participation in the contest with a number of respondents insisting that they (women) deserve a chance to prove themselves.
It all started from as far as Finland by former Green Eagles player Innocent Kazembe and the ball got rolling.
Interestingly although the point of women was only covered in a few words the reaction to that was a pile of views most of which are valued.
University of Zambia coach Cuthbert Tembo, who along with Liz Mills are among candidates for the senior menâ€™s coaching job had this to say â€œWe have an even bigger chance with the ladies. Solid lady basketballers at Shells, Buffaloes, Breeze, Sparks, Honeys, Hotspurs, Lootereses and I am sure on the Copperbelt and elsewhere. Come May next year, a strong ladies team can be assembled and made to compete. I am comforted that excluding the ladies is not ZBA official position and I would not support it.â€
Kasama-based Charity Sakala, who played for Kabwe Pellets years back in her youth and once served in the northern region committee of the Zambia Basketball Association was in the forefront charging â€œI donâ€™t think side-lining the ladies team will help in any way. How do we expect the ladies to do better if they cannot get the exposure? Letâ€™s support the ladies teams….if anything, I believe they would do better than the menfolk. I have noticed that here most ladies sport in this country are side-lined…even to the extent where funds budgeted for the ladies outing are transferred to the gents. Itâ€™s unfair…for crying out loud!!â€
On the other hand, Charity also agrees that women must rise to the challenge and called on them to demonstrate that they deserve support.
Her counsel was: â€œThey [women] also need to be told how the association is struggling to lobby for sponsorship to enable them participate in these tournaments and the need for them to impress and retain sponsors by striving to do better or come out impressive when they participate in these games.â€
Both teams will have to work hard and to perform to expectations irrespective of where the preliminary games will be held.
Less time should be spent on talking and arm chair criticism because at the end of the day, it is the nationâ€™s pride that is at stake.
It is about time that Zambia made an appearance at the AfroBasket Championship something that only happened in 1989 when the country was represented by a club side in the name of Kabwe Cats.
I commend the Youth Basketball League of Lusaka marshalled by Mwape Konsolo and the Ignatius Chongwe inspired Copperbelt Youth Basketball Association for their efforts in promoting youth basketball.
The two bodies stage a tournament on the Copperbelt a few weeks ago dubbed Lusaka versus Copperbelt affair. Thumbs up!
Have a blessed week! firstname.lastname@example.org
HOOPS! with MWEMBE KAONA