HOOPS! with MWEMBE KAONA
PERHAPS with inspiration from the recently-held Confederation of African Football (CAF) Congress in Rabat, Morocco, a local basketball symposium is to be held.
The last one of a selective gathering took place in Kabwe over two decades ago where a number of reforms currently in operations were agreed upon.
Since then, no major convention or conference of that nature has been convened hence my view that it is about time another one was held.
Of course, one cannot ignore the fact that with support from the National Olympic Committee of Zambia a review of the structures of basketball was carried out less than five years ago hence we have the league and competition rules governing the leagues.
Ronnie Owino, a Kenyan basketball expert appointed by the International Basketball Federation undertook the task and it was through his expertise that a revised constitution was drafted though it is yet to be adopted.
Although basketballs national governing body has changed format to being federations there are a lot of loose ends to be tied up.
One area is who participates in the national championships because currently it is the top four teams from the Copperbelt and Midlands Basketball Associations yet there are teams eligible from Luapula, Northern and Southern provinces.
Unfortunately the statutes dictate that the top four from the north and south which arguably means the selection covers the Copperbelt and midlands.
Arguably because going by the structures under the association the teams from other provinces feed into the northern and southern region order.
In a federation, a team earns its right through winning the top or runner up position in the provincial league but the complication is that only the Copperbelt and Midlands seem to be active and no council resolution has guided the status.
While the executive may make a decision, the problem is such a resolution would be contested for not having any constitutional backing.
Going forward, the federation annual general meeting should consider and adopt the best way forward which would be all provinces inclusive national championship.
Zambian has ten provinces but only five have organised basketball in existences though the Copperbelt and Midlands aside the other three are not as competitive.
Since there is likelihood that each year there would be an increased number of provincial basketball associations, the pathway to participating in the national championships should be regularly reviewed.
It also poses a challenge to the ‘weak’ provinces to up their game and show cause why their top teams should have automatic direct qualification at the expense of the fourth best team in the Copperbelt and Midlands.
There was an argument last season that teams from Southern Province did not merit playing in the national championship due to their ‘low strength’ but the question is without exposure, when will they develop?
These thoughts and more should be discussed by a national basketball symposium that will envison Zambian basketball for the next ten to twenty years and take it to higher heights.
Have a blessed week!