Managers from six Botswana Basketball Association (BBA) teams have finally endorsed the idea of having two leagues A(upper division) and B(lower division) to increase competition. This was revealed by the Minutes of Managers Meeting seen by this publication last week.
Of the 11 BBA teams, only three did not turn up for the meeting leaving voting for only eight teams. Warriors, BDF V and Cadets were absent at the meeting due to undisclosed reasons. Only two voted against the idea of dividing the league and the majority chose to adopt the idea, therefore the league committee finalized the decision to have two divisions.
The league fixtures draft is out and it will start on 10 April 2015. The idea of splitting the league into two has received mixed reactions from some in the basketball fraternity. Some argue that BBA is too small to have a two pool league while others who were also against the idea said the association is trying to sideline smaller teams.
“It is shocking to see such developments while basketball is still struggling with facilities and resources. How can it be possible for two divisions to use the same facilities and and venues, that’s being ridiculous. What will be the motivation for the lower division teams to hustle for promotion to the upper division,” said a BDF V official who is against the splitting of the league.
Drillers Manager Lucas Masawi, whose team voted against dividing teams, said he does not see the idea working.
“This idea would not improve the league at all. When weaker teams are playing against weaker teams and stronger ones are competing against each other improving in quality cannot be guaranteed. Weak teams should play against strong ones so that they learn from them,” said Masawi.
Information reaching this publication states that the association’s executive committee, which is meeting on Wednesday regarding the issue of two division implementation, has never endorsed the idea. This publication could not reach anyone from the BBA executive committee for a comment before press time.
For his part, Dolphins coach Trynos Moyo who is also part of the league committee that voted for the system of two leagues said this will improve local basketball and make it more entertaining. Moyo said unlike the past format, BBA will now be ensured of competitive games each week because teams with almost equal strengths will be competing with each other. He said this could attract sponsors as most games will be close and intense.
Many would remember intense bottom table clashes between Botho and Warriors which produced fireworks just like the games between top performers Troopers, Dolphins and Spartans.
“We are not sidelining the B league and concentrating on the A league. We want to bridge a gap. The leagues are going to work together. Young upcoming players will play in the B division and be scouted to the upper league,” said Moyo.
It has also emerged that the two leagues can have two teams; a stronger one in Division A and the weaker one in Division B. However, one in B Division cannot be promoted to A Division.
The league will also not have a winter break as the BBA will adopt an NBA like format of the east playing against the west, but in the local association’s case, league B teams will play against league A teams.
There will be six teams in both divisions. The upper division(A League) will have teams which made it into the top six of last season while the others will be relegated to League B. This means Troopers, Dolphins, Flames, Spartans, Police and Cadets will be battling it out in the A League come next month. On the other hand BDF V, Bullets, Drillers, Warriors, BU Saints and new team UB Relics Men will be in the B League.