The second annual Jeppe u-14 basketball tournament took place from February 15 to 18 at Jeppe High School for Boys.
A total of 16 schools participated in the tournament including Dominican Convent, Bishop Bavin, King Edward VII, Pretoria Boys High and St Benedict’s College.
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Founder of the tournament Nkuli Gamede, who is a teacher at Jeppe Boys, said the tournament is all about learning and growing as a team and for him as a coach.
“The tournament is not about winning or losing, it’s all about moulding the team.
“It’s about encouraging the boys in the sport and teaching them how to be good sportsmen while improving their skills through sharing tips,” said Gamede.
He said the aim of the tournament is to build basketball in South Africa. The event also offered players an opportunity to learn vital life skills through sporting codes and sportsmanship.
Also, for players to build strong bonds within the team and with the opposition and excel in basketball.
Gamede said there is a growing interest in basketball from the schools and such a tournament is needed.
“Many boys want to play the sport. They just need the platforms because some want to play professionally in the future,” said Gamede.
The tournament has received good response from other schools.
“We are pleased to see how the tournament has grown and how much interest other schools have shown.
“We can only hope to grow and make it bigger and better,” said Peter Ngoveni, who is also part of the tournament.
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He also said that as the tournament grows it opens up more opportunities for coaches and athletes to learn.
Gamede said with a growing tournament comes challenges and they use that as a stepping stone.
“We have seen the challenge of adding more professional staff. This year we asked learners from Jeppe Girls to assist with scoring and other duties during the tournament.
“As the tournament grows we will need more manpower,” said Gamede.
We asked Gamede if the players have an opportunity of playing basketball professionally after school.
“Most of our boys don’t continue playing after school because of the lack of platforms.
“We need the support of Basketball South Africa to help in grooming the talent.
“Most of these boys play exceptional basketball and it’s disappointing that they don’t receive the opportunity to grow in the sport,” said Gamede.
Jeppe Boys made it through to the finals of the tournament which was held on Sunday, last week.
They faced off against St Stithians.
The final score for the game was St Stithians 17 Jeppe 10.