Basketball: Crippled in Vanuatu

Basketball seems to be on a decline over the last 10 years says President of SHEFA Basketball League – Peter Izono.

In an interview with the re-elected League President, Mr. Izono stated that a decade ago, basketball was as popular as soccer however nowadays the sport is scarce with only two provinces remaining.

“Ten years ago basketball was played by schools, leagues and provinces, I mean the number of teams and clubs has diminished, today it has changed, as we can see basketball is no longer played as before in the country,” Mr. Izono said.

The deterioration of the sport is linked to naivety in the administration duties of the Vanuatu Basketball Federation Mr. Izono explained: “Administration is one of the things that is crippling basketball at the moment, because all the experience people are not coming back to help Basketball, they are moving on to other sports like Netball and Soccer.”

Mr. Izono added that another reason why the discipline has become scarce is due to poor management of the National Basketball Association – “the federation, the body looking after the local associations is inexperienced and I think they will need another few more years before things are up and running again”.

The blatant image painted by the SHEFA Basketball League President on the status of the sport in the country is troubling, although contrary to Mr. Izono’s comments were that of the President of the National Basketball Federation – Frank Franconieri.

Mr. Franconieri replied to Mr. Izono’s remarks on the National Basketball administrative team being “inexperienced” and “naive” by emphasizing that the entire staff consists of volunteers with financial constraints.

Nevertheless, the former National Basketball Development Officer is adamant that the right changes could resuscitate the sport in the country: “They need to provide more for the local associations in terms of administration advisors, referee courses, coaching courses and materials to run the associations.”

In the meantime, the two provinces that are currently treading water to stay afloat have managed to host annual competitions, championships and the Independence Knockout this July.

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