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If you want my honest opinion, I believe it is a good initiative by the NBA and FIBA. But it will not change the level of play in Africa until a junior league has to be established first.
African Basketball Academy
I started as the coach of the u16 and u14 teams. We were tasked with finding some of the most talented kids in the country and to bring them to the academy. I really loved working there! We helped a lot of kids who had either not been given a chance to play and practice seriously before, or kids who never even knew about basketball. We started with 3 practices a week and a year later it turned into 2 practices a day! So many kids came and joined the academy. We ended up winning the South African Junior League 2 years in a row, with only 1 loss. It was an unbelievable experience. Not only in terms of results and developing talent, but also helping certain kids out and taking them off the street.
I coached those teams for a few years and eventually worked my way up to the u18 Junior team. Then, I got an amazing opportunity to coach their men’s team, after the previous head coach retired. They hired me as a replacement. As if it was meant to be, I remained in that position for 2 more years. We won 3 titles and ended up sending many talented kids to NCAA Division I schools.
Since then I was hired as the head coach for the Seychelles Junior National Team. Where I worked from 2017-2019.
I truly believe that my psychology degree is the reason I am able to relate with players easily. I am able to get to know my players on a personal level. I understand them have the opportunity to connect with them about their lives off the court. They seem to open up to me and trust me more more than they do other coaches. To be honest, getting my degree was the best thing I had ever done. It allows allows me to self-reflect a lot and not let my ego get in the way when I’m working and when I’m coaching.
Coaching will be more demanding coaching in China because of the language barrier. I’ve heard that I will have a translator but obviously that isn’t the same. In Africa, nearly everyone spoke English.
Basketball is a universal language. But, the game is played completely differently depending on where it’s being played. As an international coach I have had to learn to adjust and adapt to my location. If I work as if I’m working in the United States or in Europe while I’m in Africa or I’m in China, I would struggle to be successful. I’ve seen it happen to other great coaches before.
I wanted to make sure I’m on top of the game. I didn’t want my qualification to come into question any longer. Despite all my practical experience coaching, I sometimes did not get the credit I deserved because I did not have the document stating that I was a licensed coach by FIBA standards. To be honest the license is like a degree. It’s a document. The real qualification to coach comes from experience and comes from actually being on the court. I’m very proud that I now have my FIBA license to coach, especially having gotten the distinction at such a young age. I’m only 25 years old but my credentials and experience exceed the norm for my age.
If you want my honest opinion, I do believe it is a good initiative by the NBA and FIBA. But, it will not change the level of play in Africa. Africa is filled to the brim with potential talent and I believe that in order for that talent to show on an international level, a junior league has to be established first. No matter how much money is pushed into the senior leagues, the level of play won’t improve drastically until the next generation is developed from the ground up. Africa really struggles with youth talent development. Even mentioning the need to focus on funding junior leagues is not taken seriously, unfortunately.
This would be a great opportunity for investment for some big corporations. I would have personally created a junior league instead of imitating the Euroleague in Africa. I believe the younger generation would benefit from that much more!
As a basketball coach with 8 years experience in Africa, Andrija Golubovic’s insight on what is needed to uplift African basketball holds major weight. Andrija highlighted a very important point about the unpopular opinion of the need to shift international stakeholders attention to the young athletes of Africa to uplift the nation. Andrija has had the opportunity to making a long lasting impact on Seychelle’s and I can’t wait to see where he lands after basketball resumes once again.