Basketball still taking baby steps

The Namibian Basketball Federation, while speaking to The Villager this week said it has no plans to compete for international rankings, as it continues to hurdle over funding challenges.

Namibia this far only has an under 17 and an under 20 team that actively participate in the Southern African games. NBF, Secretary General Ramah Mumba said, the federation has not had luck with a senior national team as there is not a consistent team that participates.

“We have no official program for that. It’s something for the future. Our focus is not with national team, our focus is on grassroots, coaches and officials development”, he said.

The Federation says it is not concerned about the ranking Namibia has in Africa or FIBA, as its focus is on Namibian basketball development for the next 10 years. Only then will it think about strengthening itself for international competitions. “Like every sport code, we have challenges, funding is something that will always be an issue whether you are a top sport code or not. With or without funding we are moving forward with our programs there we are currently doing and implementing”, Mumba said.

The federation has started open programs in Windhoek which have also been intended for other regions, it will have coaching and officials clinic all over Namibia with levels. “We will have Senior, Secondary and Primary school leagues running. This year we will collaborate with NSSU to ensure basketball is played at most schools in Namibia and we as a federation will provide clinics for teachers to administer and coach basketball”, Mumba said.

Last year, the federation expressed challenges due to the lack of new breeds coming into the league and that it now had to look into tapping into primary and secondary schools to keep the sport alive. Last year, Joachim Spagele of the Basketball Association of BadenWeurttemberg (BBW) was appointed by the German Basketball League as commissioner in Namibia to turn around the sport and improve its profile in the country.

Namibia was the only African country whom help was extended as far as Basketball is concerned. The survival of the sport had to turn to parents to support their children in participating in the sport.

Last year, the Namibian Sports Commission also had meetings to discuss the prioritization of sports codes and required the submission of development plans for sports codes to benefit from the development grants. In 2014, The Villager spoke to the federation, which was then operating without executive members since the resignation of its then president, George Simata in April of 2014.

Basketball used to be a favourite sport in areas like Rundu, Katima and Windhoek in its heyday but all that is left now are nostalgic memories of the past. Research done by The Villager Sport also indicate that the bulk of the facilities set aside for the sport at a community level are fast turning into white elephants.