08 July 2011

BOTSWANA : Shortage of match officials haunts basketball

Correspondent Thursday 7/7/2011

The shortage of professional referees and table officials continues to haunt the basketball league amid reports that players are unhappy with the level of officiating. The league chairman, Kabo Khama said there are only 10 professional referees in the country. The shortage has forced the association to use inexperienced referees. Khama is optimistic that with time, the situation will improve as there are currently many youngsters that are being groomed by professional referees.

He explained that they have organised fixtures in such a way that an inexperienced referee officiates with a seasoned one. Khama expressed disappointment with certain clubs, which fail to provide two officials per match as stipulated. This year, the BBA held a well-attended referees' clinic just before the league commenced. Unlike last year when the clinic was coordinated by locals, the BBA invited a trainer from the International Basketball Federation (FIBA).

Khama said they will host another referees' clinic after the first round of the league. He stated that the BBA is in the process of teaching table officials and referees ways of using the recently introduced 24-second short clock. Under the system, the referee has to alert the table official to reset the clock every 24 seconds of the game. The new system has caused a lot of confusion during games. Besides officiating problems, the league is suffering because of failure by clubs to honour fixtures.

Recently, Drillers were kicked out of the league for missing games. The BBA did not fine the club because the league is not sponsored. 'We cannot implement the fine that we introduced in our constitution two years ago because the league is not sponsored,' Khama said. He stated that BBA are sourcing sponsorship for the league and hopefully next season, they will have a financier. 'Having a sponsor would definitely improve the standard of the league as people would be playing for incentives,' he said.

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