HOOPS! with MWEMBE KAONA
ONE American born basketball coach wrote that naysayers here in Zambia believe that playing sports such as basketball affects academics negatively.
But he believes it is to the contrary and I agree with him especially when one considers the number of graduates from universities and colleges that have played the game.
Basketball is a discipline sport and as such, any concerned parent should have no qualms about their boy or girl playing the game although I cannot rule out risks that go with being involved in a team sport.
Such risks are mainly group influence bordering on strong characters influencing their teammates into bad post game activities.
However, any coach in a sporting sense is a parent away from home, should apply strict rules to shape not only their player as a sportsman but a useful citizen.
The coach who I am referring to in this matter is Livingstone- based Robert Mc Carron who manages Mukuni Stars.
Mc Carron proudly shares a testimony of how out of 25 students cum players he coached, 12 earned 10 points or better during the Grade 12 examinations last year.
One player wrote to Mc Carron: My names are David Mapenzi Simbuliani aged 19. I am a Guard/Small forward for the Copperbelt University Comets Basketball team, and in the school of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at the Copperbelt University.
I started playing basketball in the year 2012 at Hillcrest National Technical High School, Southern Province. Late that year, I realised what would make me happy in a long time, if not my entire life. I met coach Robert McCarron who sacrificed to be the coach of The Hillcrest Spartans but by then, I was a part time basketball student because I was too possessed with soccer and was one of the dependable figures in the school team.
There are other players who have attained academic excellence despite sparing time to play basketball and amongst them are current Minister of Justice Dr Ngosa Simbyakula who played alongside former Zambia Basketball Association president, now life member Brian Chisengalumbwe.
Some basketball players who applied themselves equally well academically are today top executives in corporate bodies and one that comes to mind is Charles Nakhoze of the Zambia State Insurance Corporation General Insurance division.
To name a few, more others are banker Mzamani Lungu, Sipho Nakalowa, Fabian Mpuku and coach of University of Zambia Basketball Club Cuthbert Tembo.
The US NBA league is comprise of players mostly drafted from colleges and university which helps players have managerial skills of the large earnings they reap.
But to crown it all, I see no need to classify basketball players as bad boys and girls who cannot read or write.
Their involvement in the sport helps them be useful citizens to society and their families for in the game, one learns human relations and team spirit.
As one of Mc Carronâ€™s players Museta Daka puts it, a basketball is not only a sport but a medium in which one can enhance mental and intellectual abilities.
Have a blessed week!
HOOPS! with MWEMBE KAONA