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Cyril Shabalala – Holding Court

Holding Court is a new section of the ICSL website where the Holding Court team will sit down with key individuals in and around the league in get-to-know-you one on one interviews. HC is meant to bring us a little closer to all these key players, coaches, owners and administrators that make the league what it is today.

In our very first, jump ball segment of Holding Court the possession arrow went to Cyril Shabalala, star player and inspirational captain of MBB.

Cyril

PROFILE
1.83m; 82kgs
Position: Guard
Nickname: C-Note
Team: Men Behaving Badly

BASKETBALL ACHIEVEMENTS
KZN Schools 1996-2000; SA Schools U19 2000;
U18 IPT All-Star 2001; SA U18 2001;
AfricaTop 100 Camp 2003;
SA Students 2004-2005 (All-star 2004);
SA Men 2005

 

  • You’ve had a busy 2014 season with some notable success in other leagues. Are there any personal developments that happened during the ICSL offseason that you think will play a role for you in the 2015 edition of ICSL?

 C-Note: “Well we are hoping that players can make themselves available to play in the ICSL and to also apply themselves accordingly to be able to give MBB a chance to compete and hopefully win the championship in 2015.  I think with the majority of the players playing in the BNL, it will assist in at least ensuring that the guys are in some kind of respectable shape to be able to compete in the ICSL.”

 

  • So how active were you guys in the “free agency” period? We don’t think we have seen your whole roster yet in 2015. What moves have you guys made that we can expect to see throughout the rest of the season?

C-Note: “Well with some of the Duzi Royals players now living in Johannesburg, it made sense for us to try and recruit them into the MBB roster. Players like Sakhile Sithole who is now working in the outer GP area. We also lured Mbulelo Ntshingana from UJ Alumni. He had made it clear in previous seasons that he would like to be a part of our team. We have also added Nkululeko Mthalane who is also a Duzi Royals player and is based in Limpopo.”

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  •  Those are some strong additions that should make MBB a contender this season. On that note MBB is one of the top franchises in ICSL and nobody doubts that. But they also haven’t made the playoffs in the league? In that regard MBB has kinda come up short. Are you disappointed at what the franchise has achieved in ICSL?

C-Note: “I am very disappointed that we have not been able to make the playoffs since the inception of the ICSL. In the 1st season we lost to Braam Blues in the last second after I missed a game winning free throw and Nathi Simelane scored the winning basket. That loss proved to be the loss that sent us packing out of the league. In the 2nd season, we lost to ETV Phenoms which also proved to be the loss that sent us packing as well. Losing to Wits University in the last game of the season was heart breaking. The positive is that we know why we have not been able to make the playoffs and it is simply the problem of player availability during crucial games. Last season, with our full squad, we were able to beat a full squad of the eventual champions Goodfellas. This shows what we can do when we have a full squad of players.”

 

  • What do you think it’s gonna take for MBB to climb to the top of that mountain and which franchises represent your greatest competition?

C-Note: “As I said, if players can commit themselves to MBB and the common goal of winning then I think we can definitely get to that summit. The players that pose the biggest threat to us are UJ Alumni, whom we have not been able to beat in the last two seasons. Jozi Nuggets whom we have also not been able to beat in the last two seasons. Defending champions Goodfellas are an obvious inclusion in that list. With that being said I have always been weary of the surprise element of the Randburg Rhinos. We have always been able to beat them but they somehow seem to get closer and closer to us every year.”

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  • How bad you want that championship?

C-Note: “Being a KZN player living in GP, it is always nice to win something in GP. So I would really like to win this championship. I’m tired of Tsakani talking trash to me in the Duzi Royals change room, hahahahahaha!! About how they are two time champs etc etc.”

 

  • Have you been surprised by how tough ICSL has been?

C-Note: “Not surprised at all. It is everything that I imagined it would be. The best ballers in the country battling it out with their respective cliques to get bragging rights in the city of gold. Friendships go out the window when we step on the court and that is what competition is all about and that is what the ICSL has brought in to GP basketball. Such a great thing.”

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  • What’s your toughest one on one matchup and why?

C-Note: “Defensively I hate having to guard Lucky Loate. I always end up having to guard him and he runs around too much and with the shape I was in during 2013 and 2014, it was really tough. But I think I will be in better shape come 2015 to be able to chase him around. Offensively, I have had to take a back seat with my offensive game to allow the youngsters in our team to show case their talents. But I think, with better shape I can be able to be more offensive. With that being said, I hate being harassed by Lethabo Mokgobu from Goodfellas. He annoys me, find it difficult to pay attention to his whereabouts. But I usually sort that out by posting him up…..hahahahahaha!!”

 

  • We always wanna know who the unsung heroes that contributed to you being the player you are today. Who were your greatest local influences in basketball?

C-Note: “Emmanuel Madondo was my 1st basketball coach when I was in high school, he introduced me to the game and growing up I pretty much learned from him. He then took me to APN where I met Joachim Rodriguez when I was 13 years old. From there I grew up playing alongside Craig Gilchrist who still plays a very integral part of my basketball development and knowledge. My big brother Nge is my biggest critic, he is not shy to tell me when I have had a bad game or if I have made bad decisions. He is very blunt about it. So those I can say are the people that shaped me to be the basketball player I am today.”

 

  • Thanks for holding court with us. It’s been a pleasure having you as our very first guest of Holding Court.

C-Note: “Thank you guys. Good luck for the season and keep up the good work, MBB will stay supporting. *Beer time*”

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