HOOPS! with MWEEMBE KAONA
ALTHOUGH basketball on the Copperbelt has lagged behind in the last ten years, there appears some bright light at the end of the tunnel going by the investment programmes being put in place by the regional committee.
According to a mid-year report by the Zambia Basketball Association (ZBA) Northern region head of community and schools basketball committtee Ignatius Chongwe, plans are in the pipeline to intensify on age limit competitions and create leagues as a way of laying a solid foundation.
Chongweâ€™s committee is taking steps towards devising a three-year plan that will take off next year and it will not only involve schools but community initiatives as well so as to widen the catchment area of talent identification.
Regional technical coordinator Kennnedy Musonda and coach mentor Connell Kandala have led technical teams in referees and coaching clinics respectively.
The drive has also included prorgammes in Luapula, Muchinga and Northern provinces thus giving birth to teams like a Mansa Rockets who hope to compete in this yearâ€™s national basketball championships.
The programme might spread to North-Western Province which borders Angola, a country with good genes for basketballl talent,
Age limit programmes are for the under-13, under-15s and the under-18s and a process of identifying and training coaches for young players is also in motion.
Besides human resources development the challenge that has faced the region is poor or inadequate infrastructure most of which was developed in the ZCCM era but has since been either sold or left in a deteriorated state due to lack of maintenance.
However thanks to corporate support from the likes of a Lunga Resources and mobile service provider MTN Zambia who have partnered with the ZBA northern region to rehabilitate some courts.
Some sectors have on the other hand criticised the intitative as being cost stressful due to lack of sponsorship but I read somewhere that when you take a step a bridge appears.
This step taken by Chongwe and company will surely cause bridges of support to appear with the corporate world as well as the public in general getting on board.
I could also add here that constitutional leaders such as members of Parliament and ward councillors should be engaged and enlightened on the need to consider part of the Constituency Development Funds to go towards this noble cause for it is not just about basketball development but form of social service that addresses concerns regarding youths spending time in anti-social activities.
Furthermore, there are employment creation opportunities firstly for those involved in the construction phase and secondly for staff engaged to train the young players. Isnâ€™t that more money in your pocket?
I am sure the leadership at ward, district and provincial level will gladly assist despite the competing needs they face on a day to day basis.
As for Chongwe and team, the die is cast and come 2017 when their programme comes under review there is a great likelihood that much would have been achieved with tangible results to show.
Clearly the northern region is set to change levels and as the 2014 season draws to a close 2015 should begin to take shape and move in a positive direction. Have a blessed week!Â firstname.lastname@example.org.
HOOPS! with MWEEMBE KAONA