As chief coach of the Sri Lanka men and women National teams for nearly 10 years, Ajith Kuruppu knows what ails the system.
He is clear that a foreign coach will be able to solve some of the problems, if not all, Sri Lanka basketball facing now.
“Administration will listen to a foreign coach if he demands better infrastructure and better facilities. I think that’s the mindset generally in our region,” says Kuruppu, after his team lost its third successive match in Level II to Malaysia on Monday in the Asian women’s basketball championship.
“With a foreign coach, at least 50 per cent of our drawbacks will be addressed,” he adds.
In the contest against Malaysia, Sri Lankan hoopsters matched its opponent till midway in the second quarter.
“We were aggressive, kept hustling them but the players lost stamina after the half-time. But this is the best match we have played so far,” he says.
Lack of facilities
Kuruppu blames poor infrastructure as the main reason for Sri Lanka’s dismal show in international tournaments.
“We have only one indoor stadium, as a result 95 per cent of the time we are forced to practice outdoors. We had only 15 sessions before the Asian championship in Chennai,” he says.
Kuruppu believes that Sri Lanka should find taller players to compete with other Asian teams on equal terms.
“Unless we find tall players, we will continue to struggle against the rest of the teams in Asia,” he says.
When teams like Korea, China and Japan have camps for long duration so that each player gets to know the other and the coach to formulate strategies, Sri Lanka had only three months together for three days a week.
“In fact in the last one month, we practiced as a team for five days a week,” he says.
While the Indian women’s team didn’t have any major exposure trips for two years after the 2007 Asian championship, Sri Lanka is worse for its last trip was way back in 2003 to Germany.
Till the situation gets better, Sri Lanka has no choice except to be content with regular trips for the Indian South Zone championships.