HOOPS! with MWEMBE KAONA
Schools have gone on break for the Christmas and New Year holidays which gives the boys and girls time away from their books and writing materials and offers an opportunity to think and plan ahead for the challenges of the new year and grants them time to exercise themselves in the open market where any game can be played.
Basketball is arguably the best activity that the little ones can try out. It offers a chance to interact and make newÂ friends in addition to learning new skills in the field of sport and also time to improve their game if already active.
My colleague on the columnist desk Dexter Njuka, in his contribution last week, warned that this is the period when parents lose their children to life in the fast lane by falling prey to peer pressure, thus finding themselves involved in vices that deter their lives from what the Almighty has planned for them.
Peer pressure can be conquered through basketball in a calculated and systematic approach. May the mentors of the game partner with the life skills coaches.
In communities around the municipalities basketball courts are at the disposal of societyâ€™s vulnerable boys and girls who have so much energy to let out.
Coaches with a passion for talent identification and development can use the festive period to volunteer their services to our promising and gifted young men and women dotted around the many residential areas that make up the towns and cities.
In Lusaka I have in mind accessible courts such as Looters Abattoir in Libala, Kabulonga Boys and Kabulonga Girls while up north in the Copperbelt the numbers are much more than my fingers can count.
Areas such as Chipata, Livingstone and Mansa have a few but they surely do meet the demographics of the vulnerable groups.
Boys and girls need to learn not only the skills to play the game but, in addition, life skills to keep them away from mischief manifesting itself in substance abuse and careless behaviour.
Basketball volunteers can play a noble part through teaching and sharpening skills and added to that, stressing the importance of safe sport which is away from drug abuse and saying â€˜No to AIDSâ€™, a theme adopted by the International Basketball Federation.
For the evangelists it is virgin ground for soul winning and shaping of destinies as scripturally commanded.Â (Matthew 28:19-20).
Up in Luanshya, I am aware of a holiday camp organised by former school basketball star Leonard Chisanga Bwalya where a number of boys and girls will gather together to interact spiritually and learn life skills with sport as a component.
Such programmes would serve the game wellÂ not only inÂ terms of communityÂ serviceÂ but talent identification.
Come 2015, let no player lose their sharpness on account of the negative effects of the festive season but may they return better than before and be better citizens.
In as much as it is a holiday break it can serve as a time to make up skilfully.
Have a blessed week! firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mwembe Kaona +260965 752797Â +260979 752797
HOOPS! with MWEMBE KAONA