By Buhle Bam
The Maties Basketball players will be back to dropping dimes, making it rain and getting opponents stuffed as the nation says goodbye to the “new normal” and welcomes back a basketball season familiar to all.
The past two years have been quite the trial for Maties Basketball. According to Masie Ntali, the head of the Maties Basketball Coach Programme, they were faced with challenges like “taking extra precautions when a team member is not feeling well, even though it’s a simple flu symptom”. Furthermore, there were injuries as well as a late start to the district federation league, which resulted in a longer pre-season.
Although there has not been an official league for the past two years, Ntali said, “Judging from the friendly games we played, the team is getting better each day.”
He further said that Maties Basketball is in a building phase, as many seniors have not participated in any competition or league.
According to Troy Williams, first-year BA (Humanities) student and basketball player, “The Maties programme is excellent — personally, I believe we can be one of the best teams in the country.”
Williams has seen a lot of improvement in his overall fitness and athleticism and believes that “the access to resources provided by the university allows players to be in peak condition”.
The highlight of Williams’s basketball season was a game his team played against the University of Cape Town (UCT). “We played a game at UCT, where the atmosphere was insane. We beat UCT, but the game was very exciting, and the crowd added to the excitement,” he said.
The basketball season holds a lot in store for the players. First up is the Intervarsity Tournament, also known as the 3×3 Campus Basketball League, which will be hosted over a time period of about six weeks starting on 12 August, as per the Google Forms sign-up sheet (available in the bio of Maties Basketball’s Instagram account @maties_basketball). Apart from this, Maties Basketball will also partake in the Cape Town Basketball League, Western Cape University Sports South Africa (USSA) Basketball League and the USSA Basketball National Tournament.