Assistant coach Shadrack Moepeng will take charge of the Sasol SA national senior men’s wheelchair basketball team during matches, during the six-nation Agadir international tournament in Morocco next month, as national team head coach Franck Belen is set to monitor playing patterns from the grandstand.
Belen, a firm believer in using younger players as part of his rebuilding plan to turn the South African team into a force to be reckoned with in time for next year’s Paralympic qualifying matches, views the positioning of Moepeng as ‘coach on match days’ as part of the development programme for the sport.
It’s easy to call up new players and talk about development but how else will Moepeng develop as a coach if he doesn’t get the opportunities? said Frenchman Belen.
The assistant coach and I will handle team planning sessions and practices, but I will sit in the stand during matches and analyse the games and give Moepeng advice, when needed. The development aspect of the sport is all part of a four-year plan which the Wheelchair Basketball SA board adopted upon my appointment in 2013.
Moepeng, pictured right, hails from Orkney, near Klerksdorp and works as an Emergency Care Practitioner Ambulance dispatcher for the Department of Health in the mining industry, expressed his excitement at being in charge of the national team on match days in Morocco.
‘Being in a wheelchair myself, this is indeed a great honour to be the decision-maker on the bench on match days for the team and I am really looking forward to it as I hope I can inspire other people with disabilities that much can be achieved through commitment and passion for tasks,’ said Moepeng.
‘The Sasol SA senior men’s wheelchair basketball team has changed so much after a lot of the more experienced players retired from the sport after competing at the 2012 London Paralympics, so we are busy with a re-building phase with the aim of giving as many of our squad members as much match action as possible.’
Moepeng continued: ‘ Thanks to Sasol and Wheelchair Basketball SA, we have had a number of training camps this year which have been used as trials in order to analyse as many players as possible. Now we are down to around 20 players from which the 12-player travelling party to play in the international tournament in Morocco, will be chosen.’
In commending Wheelchair Basketball SA on their approach to development from a player and coaching perspective, Sasol Sponsorship Specialist Dumisani Mbokane said: ‘ Sasol has been a proud sponsor of the national senior men’s wheelchair basketball team since 2007, and the positive attitudes of all involved with the team, can serve as a form of inspiration to all sports persons throughout SA. I have no doubt the youngsters in the squad will follow in their footsteps of their predecessors and go on to become household names and role models to all South Africans across our sports-loving Rainbow Nation.’