The father of basketball Philipp Shaftenar will be presented at his beck and call this week during the qualifiers for the national basketball title between ZZ Leiden and Donar from Groningen. Before the final matches – played in a best-of-five fashion – Roland’s father (Leyden) and Olaf (Donnar) have only one wish. Shaftnar Senior, himself a former Major League basketball player, desperately hoped the finale would last at least four games.
Since Leiden won 1-1 in Groningen on Tuesday night, the finale won’t take place until Saturday (game four) or White Monday at the earliest. During the third match on Thursday night in Leiden, the 2.15m tall Philipp Schaftner sits in the stands as a neutral spectator.
My children are equally dear to me. I mainly watch basketball from a technical point of view, and sometimes that can happen in a match where I get more sympathy for one club, for example after a questionable decision by the refereeing,” says Shaftner. In the 1980s he played one season with Leiden and two years with BC Utrecht in the Premier League.
First national title
After years of foreign adventures in America, Spain and Greece, Roeland (34) and Olaf (30) Schaftner serendipitously returned to the Netherlands last summer. Experienced Roeland (2.11m) takes young ZZ Leiden by the hand. The powerful center and forward will be hoping to win his first career national title this weekend.
Olaf with a height of 2.08 meters became champion in 2019 with Landstede Zwolle. Donnar’s powerful shot was fit just in time for the play-off final. A serious finger injury kept him out of court for 2.5 months.
Basketball was all that mattered to Schaftenaartjes’ youth. In addition to Roland and Olaf, there was another brother who played basketball: Frank, the oldest (now 37) and the youngest (2.01m) of the three. He played for Utrecht, Leiden and Amsterdam at the highest level.
Father Schaftner trained his offspring for a long time at the Utrecht Cangeroes and then briefly in Amsterdam. “Actually, I didn’t intend to, but when I saw how the training was going, my fingers started to itch.”
As the youngest of the group, says Philipp Shaftenar, Olaf always had to compete against his brothers. He had attached a basket to a lamppost with a mortise system for his sons. Where Frank and Roiland always tried to attack directly at the basket, little Olaf had to rely on his long shot. Olaf did not experience a major growth spurt until he was sixteen years old. Partly because of this, he developed a technically good shot from an early age.
When his work as a physiotherapist allows, Schaftenar, 63, travels regularly with his wife from their hometown of Utrecht to Leiden and Groningen to see their sons at work. Previously, they had to get on the plane for this. At Christmas we sat with our whole family for the first time in eighteen years. This is the main prize for me, no national title can compete with it.
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