HOOPS! with KAONA MWEMBE
IF FACILITIES at Olympic Youth Development Centre (OYDC) on the outskirts of Lusaka are anything to go by, then it qualifies to be certified as a centre of basketball excellence not only for the country but the southern African region.
Opened to the public in 2010 by then president of the International Olympic Committee Jacque Rogge, the premises were blessed with material support from the International Basketball Federation who donated movable goal systems and electronic equipment.
Just why do I advocate that OYDC merits the status of a basketball excellence centre?
Besides being endowed with a multipurpose indoor arena which can host and has hosted high profile local fixtures, there are ancillaries that any developing player or team can have access to and make full use of.
For the technical men and women – coaches and referee – a number of rooms are available where the drawing board work can be done to plan and learn execution of their duties.
In fact, I do recall that in 2014 and 2016 FIBA, young coach module one and two were respectively held at OYDC under the tutelage of Sam Wanjohi and Ronnie Owino in circumstances where there was no need to ‘outsource’ other required facilities.
The fact that it is located within walking distance of densely -populated residential areas thus attracting a lot of active youths.
For an open air practical session, I notice that there is a running track for jogging and three outdoor basketball courts. What more can one ask for?
Out of town participants who need a place to stay could be accommodated at the OYDC lodge which provides full catering facilities.
Considering the patronage granted to OYDC by the IOC plus the support from FIBA, getting to lobby for the centre to be a regional basketball training centre should not be a laborious feat.
There is a lot of good will out there internally, the region and the world at large plus moreover the centre is a model facility by the IOC and stands as the first such structure in the world.
Ironically, centre director Clement Chileshe and his programme manager Johnny Zimba are qualified basketball coaches who in their active days accomplished plausible feats.
The two are able to render practical and verbal consultancy services to anyone needing guidance in basketball.
Chileshe is the country’s only trained and qualified mini basketball coach, which is the beginner stage of basketball and he has had some experience in running a self-sponsored team.
With 3 Vs 3 basketball receiving growing attention and support, OYDC is ideal to launch a locally driven programme.
The centre has a basketball coach specifically employed for youth development programmes and such a person would be resourceful for talent identification and developmental programmes.
Meanwhile, congratulations to Francis Nakoonje of Monze for relaunching the Southern Province Basketball Association .
It is about time we had some activity from there.
Have a blessed week!