American influence insufficient to save chaotic Cape Town Tigers’ BAL-season

After defying all expectations at the Basketball Africa League, the Cape Town Tigers can keep their heads up. [BAL]They lost out to the semifinals due to a lack in cohesion.

A star-studded team never reached its full potential due to administrative problems and internal disputes among players and coaches.

Only American company Severus LLC founded the Tigers, which was led by businessman and former player Raphael EdwardsIn late 2019, just before COVID-19 hit South Africa. This was the reason why it was such a miracle to reach the quarterfinals of the BAL at the first try.

READ: Everything you need to know about the BAL

Given Edwards and co.'s dollars, as well as the number of American players who were rotating in and out, it would have been a strong team in every match. The natural flow of the team was a result of many of them being raised in the USA and playing at very high levels.

Relton Booysen felt dissatisfaction with his team's quarterfinal loss to US Monastir, Kigali. This was in addition to the complaints he had made in Cairo at the Nile Conference. Perhaps the players were trying to make a name for themselves as they tried to be scouts in the NBA.

“I am satisfied with how far we came in this competition. However, I am not satisfied with my performance. I want win. We have the skill and talent to win. [didn't execute] The game plan,” he stated.

“Everyone was doing his or her own thing. However, I stated that we will all work together to make it better.

Booysen served as the BAL's head coach. Edwards was also involved in coaching. Edwards and Booysen were often seen shouting directions to the players, sometimes simultaneously. Edwards and not Booysen often led timeout discussions or huddles.

Sources close to the team reported that there were often disagreements between the coaching staff, mainly over player discipline levels, and Booysen was sometimes frustrated by his lack of autonomy.

Booysen, who admitted to ESPN after the Kigali defeat, acknowledged that Edwards and him were not always on a level playing field. He also said that the players and Edwards weren't always on the same page. However they did share that their honest conversations after losing the first two games in Cairo helped them find unity.

“It is very difficult to be the head coach of a team with the owner as an assistant coach. Booysen stated that although it was difficult to have such a close relationship, he felt able to make it work in the circumstances.

“My conversation was with the team was that it wasn’t about me as a person. It is a team effort that every staff member and coach should see. [being] It's not about Cape Town. It's about South Africa. Zone 6. It's more than individual people at the end.

“People will have differences, but at the end the best decisions must be made for the team.” The team came together and played well against FAP on Wednesday.

Booysen stated that he will continue to be the team manager in order for future coaching conflicts to be resolved. A new coach will come in for tournaments and possibly a second BAL stint.

Players Pieter Prinsloo (Piter Prinsloo), Evans Ganapamo, and Billy Preston all grew up in the USA.

Preston, who was a player in the NBA G-League with a variety of teams and was the team’s top scorer for this season, voiced dissatisfaction at the Tigers' second Cairo game, when Zamalek, the defending champions, lost 101-77.

It was actually a closer contest than the scoreline would have you believe. Anyone who watched the game could see that Artis and Preston, who had both missed the first game because of COVID protocols made a huge difference in the quality of play.

“A few guys from our team tried to do it together and it didn't work out like that. We win games together. We'll win more games if we can agree on that team aspect,” Preston stated in an interview with ESPN.

The Tigers, who had previously lost their opening Cairo fixture 90-61 to Petro de Luanda, heeded Preston's words and showed unity in a 73-70 upset of Cameroon's Forces Armées et Police (FAP) in their third game. Ganapamo, who was the fastest player on the team, won the third game with just 0.8 seconds remaining. This moment will be etched in South Africa's sporting and historical records.

The Tigers won 83-79 over Cobra Sport. But the cracks came out again in their Conference game against Espoir Fukash. They could have lost to Espoir Fukash had they been realistically. If basketball games were three quarters long, the Tigers could have been much more successful.

Despite having had over a month to prepare, the fault lines were once again apparent in Kigali. Monastir, like Petro and Zamalek before him, raced to the end in a comfortable win.

“I don't think that we played as a group. I believe the wins we have are due to talent. “We just happen to be good players, but as teams, we don’t play well,” Ganapamo stated in the mixed zone following the Monastir loss.

Prinsloo, the team captain, echoed his words in the post-match press conference. “It wasn't intentional, but players individually try and take the lead, and sometimes we just have to stick to being a group.”

“No single person can win the games all by themselves, and that's exactly how things spiralled out from control at the final.

Although the Tigers lost their championship because of a lackluster team spirit on the floor, it was not helped by problems off the floor. The first mistake of the organisation was to allow Ben Uzoh, a former NBA player and Nigerian international, to have his visa expire in November 2021.

Uzoh had previously played in 2021 for Rivers Hoopers, Nigeria. He had an influential role in the opening round BAL qualifying. The Tigers weren't a dominant side anymore without him.

They were able to get a third-place spot against Burundi's New Star and were awarded a piece of good luck when the game was called off due a COVID-19 infection among the Johannesburg visitors. The Tigers were awarded a 20-0 forfeit They were able to secure their place at BAL.

In Cairo, however history was made again as another ex-NBA player quit the Tigers during the tournament under bizarre circumstances.

Even though he was injured in Cairo against Espoir Fukash, Jamel Artis was irked He was immediately removed from the roster before the playoffs and was replaced by former New York Knicks player Cleanthony Early.

“Basically, the truth is that I was hurt.” [and] They didn't want me to recover,” Artis said to ESPN. He also stated that his teammates were shocked by his decision to not participate in the playoffs.

The Tigers should be fair and acknowledge that not all their problems are their own. South Africa doesn't have a professional basketball league. The men's national team was last in AfroBasket 2017 where they lost all three of their games and placed 15th.

Booysen said that administering the Tigers was significantly more difficult because of the state in which local basketball is played.

“People made it extremely difficult for us even after we won the South African championship.” As a professional team, we did not have a practice room and had to practice outside. He said.

Because he has over 20 years of experience in South African basketball, the American owner group had to act as an intermediary for the dysfunctional local basketball system.

Therefore, any team that the Tigers had at the BAL was always going to be a temporary unit. The BAL qualification was an amazing feat in itself. After two defeats in the Nile Conference games, it was incredible to find the strength to claw their way into playoffs.

Even though they represent the best of South African basketball through strength and adversity they have not proven they can handle the chaos that has marred South African Basketball for years.

They must get their house in order if they want to become the competitive BAL team they can be over the long-term.

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