Home Basketball The Gazzeles Women’s Afro Basketball games: What about the local based players?

Women’s Afro Basketball games: What about the local based players?

by Nnalubaale Sports
4 minutes read

Is it necessary to call up these nine foreign-based athletes in the Uganda Gazelles squad for the upcoming Women’s Afro Basketball games?

Mindset of an athlete

As an athlete, we all have those moments when we feel we are good at what we do and nobody can take that away from us.

We get to certain points in our game and we feel like what we are doing is the greatest version of ourselves.

In my local language, we call it “okwemanya.” It translates to knowing yourself. It’s like a beautiful woman who knows she is beautiful and doesn’t need anyone telling her.

Honestly, that is some good confidence, unless it overshadows your ability to do better than just the good looks and your performance as an athlete.

It then becomes a disaster for you as an individual because it deters your growth, as you are comfortable where you at.

It makes you repulsive to individuals that would have loved to support your growth since you feel like you have it all figured out.

Local to Foreign based player: the Transition

I was supposed to start my college career last summer, but due to the long documents and paperwork needed, I had to put it off till the spring semester.

When I arrived, I had this ego about my three-pointer shot. Like come on, you can’t be guarding me loosely at the top. I would shoot you all day.

Anyway, down the road, I got frustrated when my shots seemed to have departed from my body when I boarded the flight to exit Uganda.

I had to be placed on a training schedule of shooting once again from the basics. The hand movement, the body flow, the ball grip, and the release.

It felt like that first time Coach Nick was teaching me how to shoot while I was in my
senior two in secondary school.

Honestly, I would get frustrated when my shots still acted out and it all seemed to be
going nowhere.

I had so many bad habits to unlearn and so many good habits to pick up.

Progressively, my shot has become way better than what I originally thought was the magic shot.

I told the coach someday, “I can’t believe I used to shoot like that and my shots used to enter.”

Acclimatisation to a new environment

In all this learning, let’s remember I had to adjust to playing under air-conditioned wooden courts.

I was used to tarmacked courts and playing under the hot sun. The more frustrating aspect of it, the 3-point line in USA college basketball varies from the 3-point line by FIBA. It’s further.

In two months, people around started to tell me that I have a great shot. But of course, old habits die hard.

Once in a while, I will be trapped in the web of my poor habits and I will be reminded to keep squared up.

I have not had a fair share of playing games yet but I am looking forward to the summer. Excited about the games.

But I have had a fair share of playing pick-up at open college gyms and community courts.

Benchmarking best practices

You compete against kids who have been playing basketball from the age of one. It’s like basketball is what they were born for.

They challenge you and at times you may question yourself, “Naye nfa ki?” You recall you want to play for your country so you continue the grind.

Iron sharpens iron. I am not a worshipper of developed countries but I am a student of their systems.

We have a lot of good practices to learn and see how we can make use of them in our different fields, in our home countries.

The sports industry has greatly been ironed out to sharpen and produce the best of the best. As an athlete, you are challenged to either go hard or go home.

Foreign based players are assets, not liabilities

Leagues are highly competitive and this provides an opportunity for our local athletes that have moved in search of growth in their sports to become great exports for our nation.

We are blessed that these athletes maintain our country’s citizenship at the end of the day and are at the forefront of playing for the nation.

Our local sports leagues have done a great job to produce some of the athletes that have moved on to play in other countries.

With the addition of these international based athletes to our National Squad, comes expertise, experience, and learning opportunities for the local-based players which will lead to the improvement of the quality of the local players and development of the league.

The argument at hand may be that the local-based players will lack a chance to compete against the foreign-based players.

This is a fearful thought that eliminates the fact that we should be glad that these foreign players are a direct product of our local leagues.

The development of the National Squad shouldn’t be solely left to the international players because the local players have a fair share in having a competitive edge against the international players.

With the Women’s Afro Basketball games around the corner, the Federation has called upon nine foreign-based players and this has caused panic among the local-based fans and some players.

Local and Foreign players make a beautiful synergy

I think it should be a point of celebration that women’s basketball in Uganda has foreign-based players.

This shows a growth trajectory in our sports industry. There is more room for more girls
to benefit from the network of the girls that have made it to these foreign leagues.

The addition of foreign players is indirectly drawing more attention to Uganda’s basketball and soon we will have more girls have an opportunity to become better players.

There is a local saying in my language which translates to, “A child that doesn’t travel, thinks that the mother is the best cook.”

The foreign players have had an opportunity to play against some of the top WNBA prospect players and other European leagues.

Considerably look at the group in which Uganda is placed. Study the players that have been called to represent Mali and Senegal.

A handful of local players made it. Tracing back these two teams, they are also the giants in basketball on the continent and have previously used these same foreign players.

It may be right to argue that using foreign players doesn’t equate to the success of the team as we have seen some teams on the continent fail miserably despite having rosters packed with foreign players.

It doesn’t eliminate the fact that the selected players have had an experience at a top
level and they will be valuable to the basketball of the country in the long run.

As basketball fans, we shouldn’t look at international players as foreigners as they are actually products of our country.

Sports Industry is already a beneficiary

We should continue to seek growth in our sports industry both on the international and domestic levels.

Let us not get comfortable (okwemanya) but rather get ready to be challenged. Think of African athletes playing in European or American leagues (active or retired) and curiously follow up with their storylines.

They bring more to the nation than what meets the eye. Let’s shed some light on our own Jean Sseninde who played football for Crystal Palace.

She is currently a club owner in Uganda and has a great network with FIFA in various
capacities that she is using to develop grassroots football in Uganda.

The likes of Clare Lamunu who is establishing a world-class basketball facility in her hometown, Gulu.

There are many more athletes we would discuss as the list is endless. We must think beyond the fear of the loss of local athletes when it comes to the involvement of foreign-based athletes.

Just saying, Argentina would not refuse to call Messi for the World Cup because he is not playing in the local league back home.

All the best to the Uganda Gazelles as they battle through the tough group we were placed in!

About the Author:

A former player in the National Basketball, Football, and Rugby Uganda Leagues, Elizabeth Kisolo Nagudi is a student at St. Louis Community College.

She is a double athlete playing soccer and basketball at the College but also holds a bachelor’s Degree in Global Challenges with Honours.

Courtesy photos

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