Sports and Leisure

Ferwaba: A-denial to an oft-used argument

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By Jejje

I’m not sure I’d agree, but that’s at least a consistent argument. Saying that foreign- based players in the national basketball team should make less because it offends your sensibilities isn’t quite as compelling.

If I’m too wide back the clock, Rwanda basketball federation, (Ferwaba) made the assertion that the ‘days of foreign-based players on the Rwanda men’s national teams were over.’ I was taken back! I mean, those were the final days to watch the likes of fierce Robert Thomson and Edouard Miller ducking in the nets.

Ferwaba Secretary General Richard Mutabazi, in his remarks last year said: “The national team will never repeat  using  foreign-based players, who have cost the country a fortune in tax-payers’ money.

“We have decided not to use them anymore. They have been so costly for the country,” the former Espoir said.

But recently, the body evoked, by calling some players like Canada-based Hamza Ruhezamihigo, Kenneth Gasana [US], Bradley Cameron Curtis USA, Thierry Sukusuku, France and Brannon Darrius for the Afrobasket 2013 Champions set in August 20-31, in Ivory Coast.

Saying that amounts to ignoring their efforts-foreign based players have the exposure, specialty,   elite and talent- in fact they got the men’s team-ranked 67th in the world and 13th in Africa, plus- Kenneth Gasana was Rwanda’s top scorer with 23 points, 7 assists and 6 rebounds.

In the last edition held in 2011 in Madagascar, the team finished 12th, Morocco this year’s opponents finished in sixth position.Now that this year’s event is an edgy contest, the services of such players have become essential.

The federation leadership recently decided to rethink the approach. Recalling some of the 8 pro’s ahead of the Afrobasket 2013 games set for August 20-31, in Ivory Coast.

What head coach Moise Mutokambali and the Executive Secretary have to understand is that cash counts in sport. It doesn’t make you a rocket engineer to figure out that good things don’t always come together!

I understand the decry for high pay: for instance one foreign-based player was paid US$15,000 approx. Rwf 9.8m for every competition- a ridiculous scenario all around, of course. This did not include bonuses.

Such, is enough to aid any Rwandan struggling and to show why this is awful, there are comparisons. If you need results and prefer maintaining that ladder there is a price to pay.

In basketball and other games, financial inequality exists today, basically because of the variations with personal team efforts. Certain rules exist within salary caps, I sometimes think, such players shouldn’t be compared to the average Rwanda worker.

They are specialized, elite talents in an entertainment industry that is sitting on a money tap. A reason why they are professionals.

For the salary issues, regarding the other end of the spectrum, I’m not sure I would agree, but that is a consistent argument. Saying that players should be paid less because it offends your sensibilities isn’t compelling.

On the other side, if you believe the gap between CEOs and their employees is a problem in any industry, isn’t basketball an example of an industry where the trend is going the right way?

Rwanda will be making a fourth consecutive appearance in Group C next to defending champions Tunisia, Morocco and debutants Burkina Faso in the Continental tournament.

I believe such opponents will invite their top cream, even if means lifting the trophy or paying them highly. Now that Ferwaba has rescinded its decision, I’m applauding them for the brevity.

The unsolicited spending has sometimes worked for teams more often! As a fan, I’m not irked over the fact that the same team was one of the best in the region making it to the Zone 5 playoffs year in and year out.

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