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Retired basketball player has passion for nurturing young talent

11 May 2017

Kwenza Dlamini’s passion for wheelchair basketball made him to be committed to nurturing young wheelchair basketball players with disabilities at the Pretoria West Pilditch Stadium on Mondays and Wednesdays. Two of the players he is mentoring are Warren Tefo and Ronald Nkomo- born in Tembisa and Johannesburg respectively. Nkomo, 21, started playing wheelchair basketball in 2012 and Tefo, who is 20, in 2011. Dlamini started mentoring the two young stars when they started playing wheelchair basketball professionally.

Dlamini, who retired in 2014, says, “I nurture them because I want them to have a future in sport, and one day they must represent the country in Paralympics. I was nurtured also and I am giving back to them what I have learnt and still learning in wheelchair basketball,” said Dlamini. The 35-year–old Dlamini was diagnosed with polio when he was two years old. That affected his one leg so he wasn’t able to walk properly. He was later involved in a car accident in 2007 where four of his friends perisheddied and he survived. In the accident, Dlamini’s other leg got injured.

“I was never discouraged by the many obstacles that I encountered in my life because I know that everything has a reason why it is happening,” says Dlamini.
He started playing professional basketball in 1997 at Filadelfia High School in Soshanguve. “When I finished at Hillcrest Primary in KZN I came to Filadelfia High school because there were no high schools that could accommodate persons with disability at home back then,” says the hMarrianhill, KwaZulu-Natal born player.

Dlamini played as a point guard for the Pretoria-based Pumas from 1997 and has competed with them in the Supersport Series Wheelchair Basketball. Tefo and Nkomo could be heading to Canada to be part of the national under-23 team in June if they continue with their current good performance and commitment. The two say they are grateful to Dlamini, who represented the under 23s from 2000 to 2002.

“Coach is a man who understands the game very well and he has made us realise our potential,” said Nkomo. The passionate Dlamini who is also a board member of the Federation of Gauteng Wheelchair Basketball expressed his concerns about the lack of funding for wheelchair basketball by the Department of Sports in Gauteng.

“There is not enough funding in basketball. Whenever we have to travel,. we have to cover some of the costs from our own pockets. The right people who understand the game must be brought in so they can realise that we are serious about wheelchair basketball and we need funding,” said Dlamini, who is the Vice Chairman of the Pumas.