He may not be the tallest kid on the court, but when it comes to basketball, Heideveld High matriculant Ameer Abrahams is a pitbull, ferocious with killer instinct.
A member of Heideveld Basketball Club’s championship winning squad, Ameer, 18, will bounce off to America in July to attend a five-day training camp at the Washington DC-based Point Guard College (PGC)
The stocky playmaker was spotted by PGC coach, Chad Songy, during a basketball clinic at Heideveld High, earlier this year.
“They were at our school last year as well. Chad remembered me and saw how much I improved. Hopefully this will open more doors,” he said.
Ameer and his teammates have been on a roll with his under-18 school’s side winning the Western Province, the Western Cape and South African Top Schools championships and, the St Stithians College Easter Tournament, in Johannesburg, earlier this year.
However, being selected to the SA under-20 training squad set to face Angola, in December, in an African Championships qualifier, has been the cherry on top of the cake.
“I never thought this year would turn out like this. This is a dream come true. I always wanted to travel the world. My game is improving all the time and credit should go to my coaches Francis Marias, Denwin Jones and John Goliath,” he said.
Ameer, who also captains the Western Cape schools’ side, has been making the WP and Western Cape schools’ teams since he was 11.
In his first year, he was named the club’s sportsperson of the year and won the Cape Town Basketball league’s most valuable player (MVP) award the following year.
Introduced to the game by his cousin, Nazier, Ameer started playing basketball at the age of eight.
And, he’s not the first pupil from Heideveld High to have travelled to America thanks to basketball.
A few years ago, Rafeeqah Fataar won a basketball scholarship to further her schooling in the US.
Although set to return before the new term begins, Ameer is looking to make the most of the opportunity and to inspire others.
“When the chips are down, one has to rise up and work hard. It also builds my character in helping others and to keep my team motivated.
“Basketball is special because you can’t just rely on individual skill, one has to work as a unit,” he said.
Ameer hopes to follow in the footsteps of his hero, former Chicago Bulls, legend and six-time NBA champion Michael Jordan.
“What I learnt from Michael is that you should work towards your dreams. He was also the first player to do the air flight which is to jump from a far distance and dunk it in the hoop,” he said.
Heideveld Basketball Club director of coaching, John Goliath, said Ameer has developed in leaps and bounds since he first met him four years ago.
“He is not the tallest person on court, but uses his height well. Last year he got promoted to the Super League side (first team), the highest level in the Cape Town basketball. He deserves to go on the training camp because he works hard and always put in that extra time at training. I would like to see him further his studies next year because education is important,” he said.
His colleague, Denwin Jones, agreed, saying Ameer’s hard work is paying off.
“He is a dedicated player, always the first one at practise and last to leave. He will also put in extra hours of training. He also likes to prove his level of skill against more experienced players,” he said.
Ameer’s father, Mogamat, said his son has been competitive from a young age and likes challenges.
“He is eager to learn new things and gives his best in everything. In my spare time, we will go for a jog or take each other on in a one-on-one match,” he said.
Although his accommodation is sorted, Ameer is still needs a few rands to cover his travelling expenses.
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