Coach Carballo conquers all

A Namibian coach was one of the secret weapons of the Senegal national women’s team at the recent Afrobasket championships.

30 August 2019 | Sports

ESTER KAMATI

Renowned Namibian basketball coach Manuel Carballo recently joined forces with the head coach of the Senegalese national women’s team, Cheikh Sarr.

The two, along with two other members of the coaching staff, led the Senegalese team to a silver medal at the FIBA women’s Afrobasket 2019 championships that took place in Senegal from 10 to 18 August.

Senegal’s national women’s basketball team had won their first game at the 2018 women’s basketball world cup under the leadership of their head coach along with Carballo as part of the coaching staff. This was Carballo’s first contract with the Senegalese team and they were overwhelmed as the team had never won a game before at that level.

Sarr and Carballo had their first encounter in 2015 in Benin and became acquainted through FIBA coaching courses. When Carballo became the first Namibian to become a FIBA instructor coach in 2015, his potential was easily spotted and three years later, Sarr scouted him specifically to join his team at the world cup.

Carballo did such a phenomenal job that Sarr contracted him again for the World Cup Afrobasket championship and the pre-Olympics. He will thus be accompanying the team to the pre-Olympic qualifiers and preparing the team.

“Last year, it was all new. We still had to recruit, which took longer. We didn’t prepare well last year,” he says.

This year, however, Carballo spent nearly two months with the team, making sure that they were well prepared for their games. The team travelled to other countries, such as China, and played against the teams in preparation for the Afrobasket tournament.

The team were undefeated all the way to the final, where they lost to Nigeria by five points to take the silver medal.

Another tough encounter during the tournament was the semi-finals where they played against Mozambique.

“We were down by 25 points and then we came back and won it by six points.

“I have coached in Europe but it is always nice to be on this level of coaching,” says Carballo, describing the experience as a learning curve.

“I’m happy to be part of the Senegalese team and I thank Sarr for giving me the opportunity to be able to assist with the coaching.

“As a Namibian representing our country as one of the coaches, it was really good knowing that people see the quality that we have in Africa and wanted me to be part of the team and help.”

Carballo and the Namibia Basketball Federation have a vision to groom Namibian basketball players, especially women, to be able to compete at the same level.

Caption 1: Manuel Carballo is enthusiastic about the future of basketball in Namibia.

Caption 2: The Senegal national women’s team finished second at the Afrobasket championships.

PHOTOS: ESTER KAMATI

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