VACOAS-PHOENIX - Jean-Pierre Siutat, president of France Basketball Federation (FFBB), was in Mauritius to witness Mali’s historical win over Egypt in the FIBA U16 African Championship Final, Saturday July 22.
You are the guest of honour of the local organizing committee. Why did you accept to take the trip to Mauritius?
I came here as the Mauritius Basketball Federation asked me to be their guest for this tournament.
Any comments you could make on the organization of this tournament?
I believe things went well for them. I am happy that they decided to host this competition on their home soil. They have risen up to the challenge that was presented to them and we saw great games.
The local team, however, cannot match their opponents…
It is due to the context. For instance, sports are not examinable subjects in Mauritius. I mean, they have the necessary structures, with a technical director attached to the federation. The people there are willing to work for the development of our sport.
It’s a country with a population of more than 1 million, and they only have around 600 licensees. This is not a good ratio. And it needs a good and deep reform.
How can the French Federation help the local one to achieve their goals?
We could provide training and development for their coaches and educators, so as to promote basketball at grassroot level. We can also help with the training of referees. These people form part of the game.
So, you mean to say that Mauritius can still progress?
Yes. And I mean it. They have a technical director. But he cannot do anything if he is alone. He needs antennae’s, people who will relay his work. For this, he needs to have people who work according to the plans he has set. But these people need to be trained. We can help in this field.
What are the difficulties Mauritius might encounter while seeking progress?
Mauritius is an island. This is the most important difficulty to overcome. But I’ve met the members of the local Federation. They are totally invested in their mission.