Things might not be the same again

A Cape Town team will dominate SA basketball

IVE been involved with sports for half if not most of my life. My love for basketball has greatly enhanced my knowledge for life and sport. To me sports is a way of life, although, sometimes our way of life does get disrupted, like what COVID-19 has done here in South Africa and around the world.

It’s easy to sit and moan about the state of things, but I would rather learn from the situation, which has allowed me to reflect on many issues, including basketball. I remember on the second week of the lockdown; I had a chance to look at pictures I took at a Michael Jordan camp in the USA. Think about it, a skinny kid from the dusty streets of Gugs shaking hands with a basketball god. That s*** is big.

Basketball has afforded me the opportunity to travel around the world: USA, Russia, Malaysia, Mozambique, China, South Korea, and Morocco just to name a few. I have had the privilege to play in SA national colours with decorated players such as Quintin Denyssen, Joseph Mazibuko, Neo Mothiba, Tsakane Ngobeni, Dr Fumani Marhenele (he is a real doctor by the way), Brendan Mettler, Lindo Sibankulu, Manny Madondo, Sunday Mokoena, Ndaba Ngcobo, Lesego Molebatsi and Lebo Maepa (MHSRIP), just to name a few. We had great fun and created a lot of memories with these guys playing for our country.

Vincent Ntunja made when he was the youngest player to play in the defunct Premier Basketball League at 15-years-old.

In my reflections during the lockdown, I smiled alone remembering that a basketball court is named after me. I have had time to think about my days in the now defunct Premier Basketball League (PBL). Not sure many people know this, but I made history as the youngest player in the league at 15-years-old. I remember playing alongside Siphetho Adonis (MHSRIP) and Alain Robertson for Cape Town Eagles. Every weekend we had tough competition from Johannesburg and Durban. I broke a sweat competing against the likes of Solly Mashiyane, Alaska Kipundu, Merick Palmer, De Bose, Thierry Kita and Craig Gilchrist. I shed a tear remembering all those memories.

My salary then, as a young player was more than that of my friends who were playing for Ajax Cape Town. I think basketball in Mzansi could have gone far by now if it was not for maladministration. I think if we depoliticise basketball administration at all levels, work together rather than in isolation, then our beloved game will regain its spot as the fastest growing sport in South Africa.

That being said, it is truly difficult for us in the basketball community during this lockdown. However, I’m pleading with all the people who haven’t been adhering to the rules to please do so. I think it is also our role as sports people to educate everyone that this virus doesn’t discriminate. I also urge all my basketball people to continue playing their part in ensuring we flatten the even though things might not be the same after this pandemic.

I’m very fortunate to be part of Under Armour’s team sponsored athletes as the brand is running a campaign called #Throughittogether, which requires ambassadors such as myself, Blitzbokke Seven’s captain Siviwe Soyizwapi, SA boxing champion Kevin Lerena and many others to post training routines to motivate our followers to stay healthy and motivated while on lockdown.

As far as basketball future is concerned after the lockdown, well I hope most leagues will resume their duties, tournaments will be played across the country. And finally, remember this day when I told you that a Cape Town team will dominate South African basketball with the aim to participate in the BAL tournament, post-lockdown.

 

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