Pieter Prinsloo

Prinsloo talks fatherhood and BAL desire

Tigers are locked in defensively

TURNING 31-years-old has given second year Cape Town Tigers captain Pieter Prinsloo a mature outlook on life.

Prinsloo, who celebrated his birthday in January, realises as he gets older, the window of opportunity to win is closing. Also, after many years playing overseas, the Tigers’ big man feels ready to settle in one place.

The former Marist Red Fox says being at the Tigers offers him an opportunity to become a family man and to build better bonds within basketball.

Pieter Prinsloo
Tigers captain Pieter Prinsloo does battle with Ngor Barnabar of the Oilers. Pictures: The BTO

“I have enjoyed my career and the chance to see different parts of the world and to experience diverse cultures, but you get to a certain point where you are happy to be in a fixed location every year. When you play in a different country every season, it becomes hard to build permanent relationships,” said Prinsloo, speaking from Nicaragua earlier in the year. “Being based in South Africa allowed me to build relationships. I reconnected with guys like (Lebesa) Selepe, who I played with on the national team. Chris Gabriel is no longer at the Tigers, but we remain close friends. Also, Lebo (Mofokeng) and I lived together when we joined the team.

“It is also difficult because I have to travel to Nicaragua to see my son. But his mother and I have agreed that I bring him to South Africa to live with me for his education and other opportunities. So in the next six months, he will be coming, which is great for me as I can be a dad while still doing my job.”

Prinsloo described the difficulty of being a parent and a professional player at the same time.

“It’s hard man. It’s a hard thing to leave your kid behind for months at a time because it’s your career that is how you take care of them. Being a father has been one of the greatest experiences for myself and knowing the relationship I have with my father, I would want the same for my son.

“My dad did everything possible to make sure the family is taken care of. So it was my mom who attended at a lot of my sporting events because dad was making sure everything is good at home. When he had time he would come and support me. It’s concept I understand being in my profession, where had to be away from my son at certain months in the year. Now with my son coming, he’ll have chance grow up around basketball and a different culture. He will have a bunch uncles from the team, it’s something I see as a blessing.”

As Prinsloo strives to get his family matters in order, he also has to turn his attention to the business on the basketball court. The Tigers captain and his teammates are preparing for a second appearance at the Basketball Africa League (BAL), which tips off in Dakar, Senegal (11-21 March).

The BAL may be a month away, but while on holiday in Central America, the 6ft10 forward had reflect about the league and being at the winning end this year.

“I have been looking forward to what is coming and wondering if we will be in Dakar or Cairo. I think we understand the importance of the games this time around. We can’t afford to drop games,” said the former Universdade de Concepcion player. “The concentration needs to be different this year. That is what has preoccupied my mind. I would also like to add another championship to my rèsumè.

“I’m thirty-one, and the years I have left to play at this level are getting less. We did well last year and the results have shown. The team’s roster and chemistry have improved a great deal.”

Pieter Prinsloo
Pieter Prinsloo feels the Tigers chemistry is on point this year.

Prinsloo has observed this year’s Tigers unit is adept defensively, and they will not solely rely on trying to beat their opponents at the attacking end like they tried to in their debut season at the BAL.

“I feel like we are a lot more locked in defensively. We understand that defence is a big thing and that we can’t always try to outscore teams. It is an important aspect of the game because there will be nights when things are off in offence,” said the big man. “That is why management made adjustments to the roster. Talent on paper is not the best thing for a team. At last year’s BAL we were considered a top team in terms of talent, especially looking at our starting five. But having the most talented team does not mean we will win.”   

“Sometimes we need guys in certain positions to fulfil specific roles on the court and make the right plays. I understand everyone likes to score, but there is only one basketball. So we need guys that can fit into the system as well.”

 

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Since they arrived in South Africa, the Tigers, who qualified for this year’s tournament at the Road To BAL qualifiers held last year in Johannesburg, have made no secret about their desire to win the main event. Prinsloo, who already echoed a similar sentiment, says they have learnt lessons from their debut appearance. He also issued a warning statement to teams that will take this group of hungry Tigers lightly this year.

“I feel like if anybody underestimates us, they will be in for a bad night. We were in the quarter-finals despite our chemistry issues last year,” said Prinsloo. “We have players and a coach (Florsheim Ngwenya) who has done a super job with us. He has attention to detail, from how he prepares us for practice to his management in game situations. 

“We made significant progress late last year, and in my opinion, I don’t see us outside of the championship game.”

 

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