Wheelchair Basketball is the 7th most watched sport in South Africa according to the last Business Management Index report. Approximately 3000 people are practicing the sport. Some of them are playing in the Provincial Club Championship Leagues (PCCL) in which six of the nine provinces/states participate. Over the five past years has been run a schools U19 summer games programme involving all but three of the provincial structures.
Once known as the South African Buccaneers, the ‘wheelchair warriors’ are now known as the SA Amawheela boys and girls!
Wheelchair Basketball has a long history of 46 odd years in South Africa. Established as a Federation in 1970 by members of Wheelchair Basketball Mandeville, RAU and Pumas Defence Force Clubs, it evolved into a sporting code represented in the SA Sports Association for the Physically Disabled. In 2004, WBSA aligned itself with the Governments inclusion policy and formed a Section 21 Company calling itself Wheelchair Basketball SA.
Under the directorship and former founder members, brothers Shawn and Craig Moorgas, Leon Fleiser and Charles Saunders, the Company decided that its stakeholders would be included in its portfolio and form working commissions. Their vision is to develop wheelchair basketball into a business where the return of investment fosters the partnership. Continues personal attention and commitment to wheelchair basketball is the heart of their mission.
Therefore one of their main goals is to have national and international representation of U18, U23, U25 and Senior Men and Women categories as well as a focus on developing their coaching staff. All to help serves the national teams preparation to be competitive in World Cups, Paralympics and additional qualifying competitions.
WBSA was ranked 11th and 12th on the international level in their U23 and senior men categories and their women are 2nd in Africa. The aim is to be placed in the world top 9 with realistic achievable targets over the next two years and in the top 8 by 2020.
There is one big problem for the sport in South Africa Charles Saunders, CEO Secretary General Wheelchair Basketball SA warns: “Lack of finance is a major contributing factor in covering development in the country. Over recent years, we have seen a decline in growth and although capacity programmes are in place, we have seen a distinct increase in the skill capacity but a down trend in participation.”
Although wheelchair basketball is well supported by the media in South Africa the government funding is limited and affects most programmes financially. So their hopes and aspirations are to regain supremacy in the IWBF Africa Zone and again feature regularly at IWBF world competitions.
Keep up to date with the South African Wheelchair Basketball Federation:
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WbsaWheelchairBasketballSa/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/amawheelaboys