Basketball |18 September 2023
‘Coaching among the angels’
- Seychelles basketball loses seasoned coach Clifford Joubert
It was with great sadness that Sports NATION learned the passing of seasoned basketball coach Clifford Joubert who left us on Saturday, leaving behind tonnes of legacies, including Seychelles’ only gold medal at the Indian Ocean Islands Games.
Coach Joubert’s gold came with the men’s selection during the 8th Games held on home soil in 2011, defeating Mayotte in the final.
An all-rounder, Clifford Joubert initially started playing volleyball and football, before switching to basketball, after Peter ‘Bones’ Boniface set up the Plaisance team in the early 80s.
After ‘Bones’ went into exile, Joubert took up the team, assuming the coach-player duty, playing alongside the likes of Joelen Simeon and Antoine Derjacques, with the latter moving up as head coach, after Joubert left the district to settle at Anse Etoile.
In his new district, during the zoning period, he took charge of the Anse Etoile’s men’s and women’s selections, while also setting up a junior team who became a feeder for the senior selection.
With the Anse Etoile men’s selection, coach Joubert brought the best out of players such as the Anacoura brothers – France and Gerard – who both made the national selection along with the Asba brothers – Donald and Eddison – Georges Rose, Michel Sophola, Alain Uzice, Robin Constance among others, bringing competition to the national league which also featured teams like MBU Rockers of coach Paul Denis, Mont Fleuri Neutrons of coach Roy Noël, Bel Air Baya of coach Robinson Boniface, and Plaisance of coach Antoine ‘Edmond’ Derjacques.
As for the women’s team – Anse Etoile Stars – they have known loads of glory under coach Joubert, having won many titles, earning them the ‘Queen of the court’ title for a long time.
With the re-introduction of club basketball, coach Joubert moved to Beau Vallon, coaching players like Terry Celeste, Guy Hall, Frankie Hetimier, Kenneth Sinon, among others.
His bond with Plaisance, however, was stronger as he went back home to take charge of the PLS Hawks, leading them to various titles.
At national team level, prior to winning the IOIG gold medal in 2011, coach Joubert took charge of both the men’s and women’s selections on different occasions, winning the silver medal with the women’s team at the fourth IOIG, again on home soil in 1993.
Described as someone who was dedicated to the sport of basketball, with losing not an option, coach Joubert has left his mark on many who trained and flourished under his guidance.
“I am ready to share my experience with the head coach and the whole team. Seychelles must win a medal at the next IOIG and it should be gold. Local clubs have won the IOCC and with the pool of quality players playing the game right now, I don’t see why we cannot triumph come the next IOIG. But, it will be important that all players, clubs’ coaches, the federation’s executive committee and the sports authorities give us their full backing” – Coach Clifford Joubert after being appointed assistant coach of the men’s national selection in 2005.
“Clifford Joubert is the one who shaped me as a player in every aspect of the game of basketball. I joined the Plaisance team after leaving the National Youth Service (NYS) in 1986, and I was slow, playing a totally different kind of basketball, until I started training under Clifford. He told me that slow-motion is for TV only, and on the basketball court, I have to be fast.
“We both lived at Les Mamelles at that time and he used to leave balls outside so that I can have them when I went for my morning training.
“He was very tactical, especially in terms of making substitutions, and he was also one who maintained the collective basketball culture brought in by Peter Boniface in the Plaisance team.
“Clifford was also someone who believed in strict training discipline, especially punctuality. If you miss five minutes of training, you will definitely pay back at the end. Seychelles has lost a huge asset, especially at a time when we are talking about revitalisng and rebranding local basketball.” – Gioven Yocette – PLS Hawks and Seychelles national selection
“It is sad. He was part of the first Plaisance team I formed as player-coach in 1981.
“We won many competitions together during the next four years.
“In fact, he was the most enthusiastic and dedicated player. He would always come to my house long before training started, to get the ball to practice individually before training started, and he has always told me that story every time we meet.
“When I returned to Seychelles for the first time in 2013, I was deeply touched that he asked me to come to the PLS Hawks training where he introduced me to his players as the founder and told his players how strict I was in training when we first started. I knew then that he had a much respected status as a national coach.
“So I was really impressed by his humility to give me such respect that day.
“He even showed his respect when I attended a final which PLS won that year. After the match he called me to take official photos with the team, while he stayed out of the shoot.
“I am also very pleased that in one of my album interviews in March, I gave him a small tribute for the humble way he invited me to meet his PLS Hawks team.
“In March, I had a good chat with him at his home at North East Point and he was in good spirit as usual, and he was still working and driving his work truck.
“We were even planning to meet here when he visits his son in Manchester who I am in contact with.
RIP Clifford,” – Peter Boniface – founder-player of Plaisance and the Seychelles national selection.
“I joined the Anse Etoile Stars in 1989, after completing the National Youth Service (NYS) and under coach Clifford, with a group of very good players we became a very strong side, achieving a lot of success. We were even named ‘Queen of the court’. His training sessions were very hard, but in the end it paid off as we won most of the league titles and Seychelles Basketball Federation (SBF) Cups. I also trained with him in 1993 where we kept the silver medal home at the 4th IOIG on home soil. Coach Clifford was someone with a very good personality, always cracking jokes, but when it came to training, he was very strict. He will surely be missed by the whole basketball community,” – Simone Malbrook – Anse Etoile Stars, B Challenge and the Seychelles national selection
“Other than being my cousin, Clifford was my coach at Beau Vallon Buccaneers. He was a very seasoned and experienced coach, always committed and focused.
“Basketball was his life, and he will surely be missed, especially for his good advice,” – Terry Celeste – Beau Vallon Buccaneers.
“My story with coach Clifford goes back a long way, since I was in secondary school, so basically I grew up in front of him, and he witnessed my personal development as a player, pushing me to the best of my ability. He pushed me to see that I had bigger things to offer in the sport.
“Funny enough, I never told him that back then, I was not a Hawks’ fan, but a Cobras one rather, even if he gave us lifts to go and see the matches.
“He then recruited me to join Hawks, but me, not being a fan, I declined the offer. Thinking of it, I always imagine whether it was the right mentality, or what I could have gained from him, in terms of skills and knowledge.
“Even if I did not join Hawks, he was always encouraging me.
“When I joined Baya, he joked about not joining his Hawks, but always remained by my side. In 2012, he called me in his national side where I gained more knowledge from him.
“Even after I joined Beau Vallon, while he retired from basketball, we were still close where he even came to my workplace, spending hours talking about basketball, giving me pointers on how to improve my game.
“His departure is hard for me to digest since he was there for me during my baby steps in basketball, and even during the most recent season, he was always here for me. I would describe him as a father figure in my basketball career, but I guess, God has a plan for everything. We have lost a legend, but his memories and legacies will live on.
“He is the first and only coach to give Seychelles basketball a gold medal.
“Fly high coach Clifford,” – Faizel Naiken – Anse Etoile, Baya, Beau Vallon Heat and the Seychelles national selection.