20 January 2011

ZAMBIA : ‘Lack of exposure cost basketball team’

ZAMBIA men basketball coach, Lovemore Sikaale says his team failed to qualify for the 2011-All African Games (AAG) in Mozambique as it lacked competitiveness advantage to challenge for honours at the highest level.
Sikaale said in an interview yesterday that his team may have performed badly during the qualifiers for the Maputo pan-African Games in South Africa last week but he was happy with the performance, given that the team did not have adequate preparations and international exposure.
He said Zambia had a good side but lacked competitiveness and did not have a serious residential camping that other national teams had, adding that the squad went for the qualifiers without playing a competitive game in the past four years.
Sikaale said there was need for the Zambia Basketball Association (ZBA) to put a deliberate plan in place when preparing for international tournaments.
“We need to do our homework before participating in such competitions because we have not played competitively in a long time and it becomes difficult to challenge at that high level. People were asking how we failed to win matches despite playing well and it all goes back to us not being very active on the international stage,” he said.
He expressed hope that his team had what it took to challenge at the highest level as long as the team was given enough exposure given to countries like Mozambique and South Africa ahead of big tournaments.
Sikaale said there was need to put in place programmes aimed at grooming future players for certain tournaments if the country was to start performing well at major competitions. The future of Zambian basketball was bright.
Zambia lost to Mozambique and Zimbabwe 86-77 and 69-33, respectively, and lost the crucial tie to South Africa 75-73 but made some amends, beating Malawi, but the result came rather too late to salvage the needed points.

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