By Joy Niemack
Pics: Luthando Ngcobo
he Basketball Club has been getting involved in the Grahamstown community by holding clinics for people with disabilities.
Basketball chairperson Luthando Ncgobo said the idea was formed when the question was raised as to whether or not the club was accessible to everyone. The club wanted to make sure that it was accessible to all those interested, so this project was started.
Although spreading the word about the clinics was difficult, the club found many people who were interested in the project. The first clinic got off to a good start. “I am hoping that more people will be able to come to the other clinics,” said Ncgobo.
The aim of the clinics is to provide a support structure for people with disabilities who are interested in the sport. However, the club’s primary goal is to start up a team.
“We want to try having a clinic every week and getting to where we have teams going,” said Ncgobo. However, Ncgobo is also adamant that this initiative is not only about basketball but rather to empower the players. “We want to get through to them and show them that they are capable of getting whatever [they need],” said Ncgobo, “as well as show them that they are handicapable and not handicapped”.
“The opportunity is there and they need to take it further, we want them to do that,” said Ncgobo. “We want to equip them with the skills for the game as well as a sustainable support structure,” he added. “There are so many opportunities in this sport; there are the Nationals and Provincials, perhaps even the Paralympics.”
The foundations of a team have already been set as Ncgobo, the Basketball Committee and other volunteers have shown a passion for the game with their teaching.
Ncgobo said, “We give them an introduction to the game, teach them the basics such as dribbling, shooting, passing and the rules.”
However, much assistance in the form of volunteers and finances are still needed in order to sustain the project. “These players need proper wheelchairs which are very expensive. The players can’t afford them and neither can the club,” said Ngcobo. Volunteers and other people who are interested are also urged to attend.
“This initiative requires a lot of energy and enthusiasm and can be sustained if someone is willing to carry it on,” said Ncgobo. Although the club has mainly held clinics in Joza, all are welcome. The club provides transport to the indoor sports field.