27 October 2010

MAURITANIA : Mauritania basketball players dream of NBA

Mauritania is calling on American expertise to develop basketball. The dream of Mauritanians playing in the NBA could soon become reality with the help of American coach Craig Esherick.

Esherick, who is an Assistant Professor of Sports Management at George Mason University and former Georgetown University basketball coach, conducted a working visit to Mauritania aimed at increasing exchanges in the sports field. The visit, which lasted from September 25th to October 2nd, offered Mauritanians an opportunity to learn new techniques and showcase their talent.

"I have come to bring people together and develop basketball, and this evening we're going to be working on the ground," Esherick commented, as he spoke to twenty young basketball players at the federation headquarters.

Esherick spoke about the fundamentals of basketball and explained in simple terms that quality basketball is based on a good attack and good defence.

"In just a few hours we learned a lot about the most effective training methods," Tapha Keita, one of the national coaches, told Magharebia.

During the evening, the American coach ran a training session at the Youth and Sports Management Training Centre, which was an opportunity for young Mauritanian basketball players to free themselves completely.

"My ambition is to be able to play in the NBA one day, and the arrival of this American coach is the best opportunity I've had to show what I can do," Djiby Sow, a Mauritanian international basketball player, told Magharebia.

Aldouma Sidibé, also an international player and captain of Nasr Sebkha, found that the training methods promoted by the American "encourage the player to give his best," adding "the American dream is always achievable."

Young women interested in the sport are not left out, and most of them dream of the possibility of continuing to study and be able to play as well: "If basketball were to allow me to continue my studies in the United States, then that's excellent," Anta Dicko, captain of the Army team, said.

Meanwhile, Esherick was not going to dash the hopes of all these young basketball players, telling the press at the end of the Nouakchott training session that "the players have talent and could go a very long way; all they need is the will and the commitment."

Related ArticlesLoading Accompanied by officials from the Mauritanian basketball federation, the American technician embarked on a tour which took him to Rosso and Boghe where he met with coaches and watched basketball games.

These field visits enabled the American technician to see the precarious state of the infrastructure where the Mauritanian players train. Sets of equipment were offered to club officials by the American Embassy.

Following this two-day tour, the delegation headed back to Nouakchott, where the American technician led training sessions and delivered some lectures to coaches.

"The Americans are the World Champions and have some great technicians. For us in the Federation, the visit by Craig Esherick is a new dawn, and we hope it will open up new opportunities for our young basketball players," Abdoulaye, told Magharebia at a farewell dinner.

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