HOOPS! with MWEMBE KAONA
ONE regular reader of this column posed a question on womenâ€™s basketball in Zambia wondering what the sport national governing body was doing about feminine basketball.
He also asked why there are few female basketball officials.
It is a subject that I could not look aside and not address this week although I have previously talked about the need for support of womenâ€™s basketball which globally is one of the few sport codes that have developed in tandem with the menâ€™s version.
To begin with the Ministry of Sports and other organisations have held conferences to address the development of womenâ€™s sport and generally I can safely say that what affects womenâ€™s basketball development is more or less the same with other disciplines.
The answers that have come out of these conferences most of which I have been privileged to attend cut across regardless of whatever sport and the starting point are the affected gender who should stand up and be counted.
For every structure to be strong, the foundation has to be on the ground and in this case girls basketball is a must for the larger picture to be seen but at the moment we have few female under the age of 12 being introduced to the sport.
In some cases, some of the female basketball players enter the game after switching from netball and for sure there have been successful transformations with the likes of Regina Sokoni Kapata and Doris Silunyange who played netball for Zamsure and basketball for Premium Nets.
The two also made it as national team basketball players and were around the game, actively playing for a while.
Once the foundation is laid, players then move on to competitive basketball and this is where they enter the league where they join clubs and play week in and out.
At this stage, the challenges are not so much apart from the evidence that womenâ€™s basketball does not receive prime time when it comes to fixture scheduling and sponsorship tends to be biased although in the last few years what is offered to one gender must be equal to the other.
When it comes to involvement off the basketball court it is true that every few women have been active and it a hard nut to crack with it peculiarities.
Firstly, most women after retiring would be expected to continue as administrative or technical officials but a good number say good bye and never return and as identified during the conferences I have referred to quite a number of challenges come from spouses who do not want them involved.
Then there is also more fundamentally important, the desire. Just like a great portion of male players vanish when their court days expire a very high percentage of female players lose interest.
Former Zambia Basketball Association national technical coordinator Kampata Bandaâ€™s proposed remedy is the establishment of a womenâ€™s national basketball association but few people can step forward to administer, it will still be run by men! Well I end here for now.
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HOOPS! with MWEMBE KAONA