HOOPS! with MWEMBE KAONA
IT IS clear the country is lacking in terms of basketball facilities and as everyone looks towards the game attaining higher heights the issue of playing arenas is a source of concern.
But what is even more of a concern is whose responsibility is it to construct courts?
I came across a blog discussion where the national basketball governing body was cited for not ensuring that courts are built around the country.
That post was an indicator that the role of a national sports body, in this case the Zambia Basketball Association is not well understood.
Across the globe, league organisers or national sports bodies do not own facilities but merely regulate in terms of the premises meeting specification standards set by the world governing bodies.
Even rich franchises like the National Basketball Association league of the USA do not own stadiums. It is the teams that are affiliated who either own the venues or rent the premises as home courts.
The United Centre named after its corporate sponsors United Airlines is home for Chicago Bulls, an indoor facility that is also the base for Chicago Blackhawks of the National Hockey League.
Madison Square Garden is the home arena for the New York Knicks and it is multi-purpose arena that goes beyond hosting basketball.
What this entails is that facilities cannot be heaped on ZBA or the teams alone but the business or local community.
It is for the aforementioned observation that I hold back siding with those who raised eyebrows when the Looters Sports Club in Libala was sold.
If the place is to be turned into a multipurpose centre that will incorporate basketball courts then why not?
The best that the affected club can do is insist on being given the right of access to use the court and it should be granted to them by the investor in the spirit of corporate social responsibility .
Since organised basketball was incorporated more than 50 years ago in the country, teams registered with ZBA by also naming their home court where they would host matches.
After all, in a league set up, games are played on a home and away basis that is why Premium Hawks were based at Hawks Nest, Nchanga at Vestra, Roan Blazers at Roan courts and the list goes on.
This system instilled a sense of responsibility in clubs who not only had to think about getting ready for the game but issues associated with hosting matches.
Each team was therefore compelled to buy game equipment like basketballs, whistles, stop watches and stock score sheets.
Teams in the country who actually hold the power to attract investments in communities they are based should lobby for the improvement of facilities from the local government and schools and also seek corporate support.
It is no secret that funding and constructing private or public training facilities can be a daunting task but public private partnerships should be pursued as a way out.
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HOOPS! with MWEMBE KAONA