Botswana Basketball Association (BBA) affiliates have expressed concern over the manner in which the national team is selected.
During the association’s annual general meeting over the weekend delegates argued that some players do not deserve national team call-ups. One representative said some players who are selected to the squad hardly feature for their teams. The delegate said some experienced players have lost interest in playing for the squad because they are never given a chance. Other delegates called for transparency in the selection of national team players. They wanted to know why good players are left out in preference for untested faces.
Another delegate charged that the national team has never achieved the desired results. But BBA committee members countered the national team has only participated in one tournament.
Another concern was about the time allotted for preparations. Some felt that the national team is always given a short time to prepare for games.
“There is no time for preparations,” said a delegate. Another affiliate said there were always more officials than players in the national team camps.
Responding to the issues, BBA technical director, Mothusi Thipe said every player has to earn their place in the national team.
But he said they have adopted a philosophy in which they want to select young players who have good height. However, Thipe said they have realised that local players are short. “We can’t teach height but we can teach skills to the players,” he told the meeting. Regarding the number of officials in the national team, the technical director said every official has a role to play.
“We do not have 13 officials just because America is doing it,” he said, adding that they prepare the team for two weeks. “This is what the other countries are doing, they take one or two weeks to prepare the national team,” he said. But he assured the meeting that the issue of preparations
Thipe said another issue is that players are supposed to be trained at club level while at the national team it is all about tactics. But he said this was not the case because you find that players still have to be taught basics at national team level.
Thipe said periodic camps for the national teams are challenging.
He added that the other challenge is that there is no mini basketball. Citing the case of Mozambique, he said, every team in that country is expected to have mini basketball in the second year of its formation. “As clubs we have to address ourselves towards the development of mini basketball,” he appealed. He said there is a need for a development structure. “If we want to compete with countries like Angola, the results will remain the same if the structures are not there,” Thipe asserted.
From the floor attendants were all agreed that as basketball is not a mainstream sport, there is need for mini basketball. “We need to develop from young age within our clubs, that’s when we can expect some results,” said a member of the audience.
On whether the women’s national team has to be coached by a woman, the technical director said the candidate would have to possess the right credentials. He said they are not going to appoint people merely on the basis of gender. After the AGM, BBA officials, coaches and players went to the Botswana National Youth Council (BNYC) centre in Gaborone West where they conducted a training camp for children from SOS Children’s Village and the neighbourhood.