Namibia: Basketball School Grows in Leaps and Bounds

Namibia’s Basketball Artists School (BAS) attracted the interest of the Namibia National Olympic Committee (NNOC) during their three-day basketball programme, held recently in the capital.

Speaking to Desert Radio, BAS public relations officer Jacobine Tangi Uushona says the NNOC hopped on their programme as sponsors, joining OTB Sports in supporting the annual three-day camp.

She said the idea for NNOC to come on board, is with the understanding that one can only grow athletes from the grassroots’ programme and develop them from a tender age.

“We had over 120 participants in this year’s programme, which is the highest number of participants since we kicked off this programme six years ago.”

“BAS has branched out our programmes for the after school activities. Our programme is definitely accessible to kids from different communities in Katutura, many of whom dropped out of school,” said Uushona.

Uushona described BAS’ relationship with the Namibian Basketball Federation and the Khomas Basketball League as unique, as BAS graduates form part of the players in the Khomas Basketball League.

Uushona added that they have an excellent relationship with their sister organisation, the Oshana Basketball School, which has similar programmes as BAS.

“All we want is sport for change and development that can go far and create more BAS in other regions.”

Uushona said BAS activities are not just focused on basketball as a game, but include tutoring, life skills and assisting participants in mostly mathematics and English, while other participants take part in self-taught programmes in graphic design, poetry and arts.

She said BAS in partnership with NNOC aims to identify talent and shape athletes into formidable sports men and women.

“We have produced some great players for the Khomas league, while 70% of the national teams are made up of players who benefited from BAS programme.”

“What we don’t allow is kids who are doing poorly in school, as we only allow them to get on the court once we see an improvement in their school grades.”

She said when parents are deeply involved in the activities of their children, they don’t just come to play basketball, but do other equally important activities that will impact them positively in life.

The camp was held at the Deutsche Höhere Privatschule (DHPS), and covered basic basketball skills in four main areas; dribbling, passing, shooting, and lay-ups.

The camp catered for beginners, intermediate and advanced players, in both the male and female divisions.

NNOC, being the newest partner, sponsored five trophies for the six-category award ceremony, which was held on the last day of camp.

“The skill among the younger group of participants has been the best thus far at beginner level. If we as coaches can unite under one footprint and truly grow the game from the grassroots’ level, basketball can have a very promising future in the country’s very competitive arena,” said Malakia Matias, BAS coordinator and camp head coach.

Ranging from seven to 18 years old, the players were grouped according to gender and age divisions to ensure adequate teaching and equal competition during games.

The winners who received trophies are as follows:

Most valuable player (MVP) female: Hope Katulo

MVP male: Mateo Prinz

Best shooter: Tangeni Unengu

Leadership award: Georgina Namises

Most improved player female: Aishe Nghixulifwa

Most improved player male: Abass Jaber

Five of the six trophies were sponsored and paid for by the NNNOC, leaving the female MVP award, which was sponsored by DHPS principal Kristin Eichholz.

Four special awards were also handed over in the form of brand-new basketballs for the best defensive player: Tulipamwe Kandume, sportsmanship award: Suhaimi Jantjies, best teacher: Zion Kalume and the appreciation award: Eichholz.

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