Different motivations. Same unrelenting drive. Get to know the powerhouse leaders of the Mpumalanga Bushbucks.
COACH: Robert Mailula (42)
Years coaching: 9 years
Why did you want to become coach?
To motivate others and help them to improve their mindset.
How would you describe your style?
As a person who likes to see progress in others in their development.
What qualities do you want in your players and the team captain?
Players that are knowing how important it is to play as a team, how to respect each other, and who understands others and has influence in solving problems.
Describe your approach when it comes to teach new and techniques?
To remain motivated and have confidence in what I will teach.
What is it about coaching in Supabets® NWWBL that makes you excited and keeps you motivated.
The teamwork. I have seen my ladies work hard to make the team and this is what keeps me motivated as I can see progress in the League.
CAPTAIN: Lindiwe Thobela (55)
Playing since: 2004
Tell us a little about your journey to the league?
I started playing some 35 years ago in a mixed gender team. There were a lot of obstacles faced but that did not take away my love for the sport. The current difficulties are that we do not have funding which makes it difficult to attend practice since everyone stays in a different place and the wheelchairs that we were given to us, are all old. I didn’t have a wheelchair to play basketball. I started to play in my day chair, the same chair that I did everyday activities with. This was a huge problem and annoying because that wheelchair is heavy and doesn’t have speed. Another obstacle was finding a playground that was disabled friendly.
Why did you choose basketball?
I chose this sport because it helps me exercise as I don’t engage in many activities. Apart from exercise this helps me clear my mind, meet different people, and share ideas with. I can say this game brings hope and a different view of life.
In sport, the goal is to win. Is this true for you or are their other goals that are just as important?
Every game is all about winning, however my major goal is to provide awareness to our society more especially to people living with disabilities and to teach them that your condition doesn’t determine your capabilities. You can still do amazing things sitting in a wheelchair!
Is there a team or player you are looking forward to playing against? And why?
The Team I’m looking forward to play against, is the South African wheelchair basketball team. These are the people I look up to, the reason is because I want to meet experts, people who know more about the sport than I do so they can share amazing ideas with me on how to become a better player, with more skills and how they overcome stigma associated with disability because that is something we can’t run away from.
What are your strengths as both a Captain and a person?
Justice – I treat everyone equally and fairly and give everyone the same chance. Leadership – I take charge and guide members to meaningful goals and ensure good relations among group members.
Self-regulation – I have good management of my feelings and actions. Love of learning – I’m motivated to acquire new levels of knowledge.
What does ‘play’ in this league mean to you?
Playing this sport means so much to me since I don’t have an occupation. This is the only thing that keep me busy and help me to see life from a different perspective.
What is one important lesson you’ve learned from your time playing wheelchair basketball?
The lesson that I’ve learnt so far, is that we require teamwork. You can achieve things alone but as a team, you can always achieve a lot more. Practice makes things perfect. It’s okay not to win.