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11th Indian Ocean Island Games: Basketball – Post-Games reaction |15 September 2023

11th Indian Ocean Island Games: Basketball – Post-Games reaction

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this piece are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Seychelles NATION newspaper.

‘Basketball needs total revamp’, says ex-PLS Hawks and Seychelles’ guard

  •        Back to the drawing board

With the 11th Indian Ocean Island Games officially over, and the poor display by our national selections, except for the women’s volleyball selection which managed to retain the gold medal won at the 10th Games in 2019, in Mauritius, many sports’ enthusiasts have voiced out their concerns regarding the meagre performances, while proposing possible solutions for better future results.

Having followed our two basketball selections closely throughout the Games, former PLS Hawks and Seychelles international guard Gioven Yocette approached Sports NATION to share his disappointment regarding the poor performances, while also sharing some ideas which he said if put in place as of now, Seychelles will perform way better at the next Indian Ocean Island Games (IOIG).

Yocette joined PLS Hawks, formerly Plaisance, in 1986 after completing the National Youth Service (NYS), where he played for 13 seasons, winning six Indian Ocean Clubs Championships (IOCC) titles, and six national league titles, including two doubles.

His first reaction about the IOIG was that local basketball needs a complete revamp, at all level of the game, from players, officials, coaches and managers.

He pointed out that, having played basketball does not necessarily make you a coach.

“Not only basketball, but sports in general is now a science whereby everyone involved need to constantly upgrade their knowledge to remain abreast of daily development, while getting rid of old habits and ancient ways of doing things,” said Yocette, who added that there are presently a huge interest in basketball from the younger generation, but it is sad to see that there is no existing structure in place to nurture their interest into love for the sports, thus keeping them in basketball.

He said with recent development in the sport, it have been years since local coaches and officials have received training to upgrade their capacities.

“The saddest part in all this is the absence of a statistician on the bench during matches, and even in training,” said Yocette, who added that it is difficult to understand how a team can play at a competition at this level without someone keeping statistics.

“What will the coach tell the players during time-outs, if statistics are not being kept throughout the match,” he said.

He said clinics, or training should be hosted for local personnel in every aspect of the game, so that there will not only be uniformity within our local league, but will also take us up to the international level.

“Our players have failed miserably in doing simple things such as breaking a full-court press, or moving in transition,” noted Yocette, who explained that it was sad to see our players trying to break a press with dribbling, instead of setting up a standard ”press break” offense, causing them to make turn-overs, and losing the balls on most occasions, especially during the semi-final against hosts Madagascar.

“There were no communications, whatsoever, on the courts, while the offence was disorganised, with everyone doing their own things,” said Yocette, who further added that communications on the court have an impact on your opponents since they are aware that you are monitoring their offence.

He further explained that a national selection should be in place, and training throughout the year, and not only a few weeks prior to a competition.


There should be a change in Seychelles’ basketball


In order to see progression, there should be a drastic change in Seychelles’ basketball, explained Yocette, who noted that we start afresh, by getting out of the comfort of Victoria Gymnasium, and decentralise basketball.

He said the Seychelles Basketball Federation (SBF) should re-adopt the culture of playing outdoors in the districts as it was previously the case.

“We should run competitions in the districts at all levels, giving everyone the opportunity play,” said Yocette.

This, he said, will bring the sport to the people, instead of them coming to basketball.

He explained that at district level, more youngsters will have the chance to see matches, and this would ignite interests, thus, prepare the next generation of players.

He said we need a new structure, with a well-detailed strategic plan, which once submitted, will convince the authority to invest.

“We cannot just sit down and ask the government for money without helping ourselves and coming up with development programmes,” noted Yocette who also added that the SBF should also embark on a marketing programme, thus partner with local businesses, taking them onboard as associates, instead of just sponsors when needed.

He explained that partnership will also allow movement, whereby teams from Mahé can travel to inner islands, compared to the existing situation whereby only inner island sides travel to Mahé.

“A proper structure will also allow accountability, especially when it comes to funds,” he said.

This, he said, will help to generate income which will go towards the development programme.

“We also need to put an end to the culture of making things that are not normal, normal,” said Yocette, who added that only capable people should be allowed to sit on the SBF executive committee.

He further noted that another failure of the SBF is letting all those involved with basketball in the 80s and 90s go, without picking their brain on the organisation, and technical aspect of the game.

“Madagascar, for example, is making use of all the available resources, both materials and training, from the Fédération internationale de basket-ball (Fiba), and we have witnessed during the IOG how they have highly benefitted,” said Yocette, who also noted that we should make use of all available resources, especially in terms of training for our coaches and officials, if we want to progress.

“I cannot understand how PLS Legends are the Curtain-Raiser champions, when the other teams are full of youngsters, who can easily outrun them. This for me shows that there is something wrong somewhere, and this is one of the areas that we must tackle immediately,” noted Yocette, who added that there are a lot of kids who are showing interest in basketball, while the problem is with the authority that does not have a proper structure to absorb, and keep them.

Substance abuse is another issue which Yocette highlighted as one of the major setbacks in the sport.

He said there should be stricter rules and regulations in regards to substance, for both players and spectators.

“Parents will never send their kids to play basketball if the authority cannot reassure them that the playing environment is safe, especially from substances,” explained Yocette, who added that regular tests should be carried out, while strict punishments should be imposed on players who do not follow the rules, even if basketball is just for leisure in Seychelles.

“If you want to do something, you must do it right, including abiding by all laws and regulations in place,” he added.

“Until there is a total revamp of the existing structure, we will only see the decline of basketball, until it will become extinct,” concluded Yocette.


Compiled by Roland 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this piece are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Seychelles NATION newspaper.

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