One of the country’s top basketball players, Michael Katoko, is returning home to play for Lions Basketball in Windhoek after spending three years at Free State Warriors in the South African Basketball National League (BNL).
This will be Katoko’s second stint with the Lions who were crowned champions of the 2018 Khomas Basketball Association (KBA) early this month.
The 1.78m tall guard is a final year Quantity Surveying student. He moved to South Africa in 2016 after he had impressed Free State Warriors’ management during the Confederation of Universities and College of Southern Africa (CUCSA Zone VI) games that were played Botswana in 2014.
The 29-year-old star, who was born in Rundu, says he is a big admirer of American superstar, LeBron James, who is regarded by many as the best basketball player of his generation.
Although Katoko’s dream was to play basketball in America like his idol, he is happy to have been given the opportunity to play for Free State Warriors that gave him a taste of professional basketball.
Free State Warriors failed to make the play-offs in the just ended season after finishing in sixth place.
“The reason why we did badly in the past season was because our best players moved to other clubs and that left us with lots of young, inexperienced players,” said Katoko who averaged 15 points a game the past season.
Basketball in Namibia has over the years been on the decline due to lack of sponsors, and Katoko knows fully well that coming to Namibia means that he will be playing for fun rather than earning a salary like in South Africa.
“I think more people need to invest in the youth so that we have highly skilled players. We also need coaches that can have a program that might bring a strong league to attract sponsors.
“Government also needs to invest funds especially at high school level. It is also advisable to bring back regional basketball championships so that players can showcase their talents. After playing I also want to go into coaching,” Katoko said.