U18 DRC National Team
On August 2nd, the U18 men's national team returned to Goma after finishing in 6th place at the FIBA U18 African Championships in Kigali, Rwanda. Assistant Coach Kipere Mulolwa and the rest of the team were warmly welcomed home by the community with great pride and admiration. PJB player Patrick Mwamba also brought home some hardware with the Top Shooter Award for the tournament.
The North Kivu provincial tournament was held in Goma this year at the newly refurbished cercle sportif. (Click Here for footage from the inauguration of the new court) All four PJB teams who compete in the 1st division qualified for these provincial finals. Both the Elite mens and women's teams qualified as the top seed in the tournament, and the Leopard women's and mens qualified as the second and third seeds respectively.
The PJB Elite women's team was crowned champion for the fourth year in a row beating the Leopard women's team in the finals. This tournament has been dominated by the play of the PJB women for the past couple years, and we plan to continue our dominance.
This year was the fourth consecutive year to have a PJB representative in the men's provincial finals. The two-time champion PJB Elite lost in the semi-finals to the PJB Leopard team and finished third. For the final, PJB Leopards squared off against Goma Bulls in a best of three series. Unfortunately Goma Bulls prevailed with strong rebounding and dominance inside to win the series, 2-1.
Jeune Voluntaire Tournament
Also this month, a new basketball organization in Goma, Jeune Voluntaire, held a tournament of their own. The tournament had three divisions: youth, junior and senior teams. PJB participated in the youth and junior tournaments, winning both. For the junior division the PJB Twiga team came home with the trophy, and in the youth division a select group of top youth players outlasted the select youth of Bukavu GoYouth (South Kivu, DRC) to win the championship.
Coaching Exchange Camp with Bold Academy
In an effort to encourage solidarity and build capacity amongst basketball academies of the region, four coaches from PJB travelled to Bukavu, South Kivu to host PJB's first coaching exchange. Please read about the experience as told by Coaches Ezeckiel Muhima and Denny Chiza (translated from French to English):
Ezeckiel- We left from Goma for Bukavu on Wednesday August 24, 2016 and arrived in Bukavu at 2:30pm. We were a team of four coaches going to give a camp to Bold Academy. We gave camps across three categories: Youth, Debutant (beginners), and elite.
Coach Sensel coached the youth camps, coach Denny coached the debutant camps, and I, Ezeckiel, was the coach for the elite camps. For me it was a pleasure to work with the Bold Teams and train the coaches there for 2 days. We taught the coaches how to teach the fundamentals of basketball and how to plan their practices. They asked us for a lot of advice for their program like how to develop discipline within their players. We also worked together to think of ways that Bold and PJB can better collaborate.
Denny- For me this was a great experience to share my knowledge (In coaching) outside of my province with another family (Bold) and to adapt totally to the new environment. Along with Bold Academy we shared and adapted all of the exercises we could give. We gave training to the coaches for one hour and worked with players and coaches on the court for two hours. This continued over two days. I think that Bold Academy benefitted a lot from the coaching training that we gave them.
English classes began in the month of August for the Elite and Leopard teams at PJB. Every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday classes are offered for PJB players. These classes are taught by Emily Barry (Education Coordinator) and Matthew Kearney (Senior Coach) who are recent hires from the USA. These classes are the beginning of the English program at PJB, and hope to expand classes across all categories of players.
Rest In Peace
This month PJB lost one of its biggest fans. Papa Kasuku passed away on Wednesday August 17, 2016. Known by all as a positive force in the development of North Kivu, we look up to Papa Kasuku as an example for all members of PJB. We strive to continue his vision of a peaceful and prosperous region. You will never be forgotten.