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Botswana to host basketball 3×3 Youth Cup

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Dates to be set before the end of this month 

LETLHOGILE MPUANG

T

he International Basketball Foundation (IBF) is said to be interested in hosting a Youth 3×3 Cup final in Botswana later this year. This was revealed by the Botswana Basketball Association (BBA) recently. Basketball in the country is still one of the most challenged sporting codes, this mainly due to lack of funds and resources. For over a decade, the BBA have been forced to run the domestic league without a title sponsor.

However, this has not prevented international bodies from showing interest in Botswana. According to the new BBA President Boitumelo Hardy, who recently returned from a Federation of International Basketball (FIBA) summit hosted in China, the IBF have developed keen interest in staging a 3×3 Youth Cup final in this Botswana.

“The international basketball foundation (IBF) is interested in hosting a Youth 3×3 Cup final in Botswana. This is a great opportunity for Botswana especially because the IBF insists on including and addressing a social needs aspect to the games, so the children involved will benefit a great from it,” said Hardy in an interview with Gazette Sport last week. She added that dates for the hosting of the tournament will be made public sometime this month.

“We are working on the date since it involves school going pupils, we have to work around their calendar in Botswana and regionally. In about a week it should be final,” briefly stated the BBA leader when addressing the topic. Hardy further went on to share with this publication some of the major issues discussed at the congress.

“FIBA has changed the competition system which now insists on using national teams to market and grow basketball. In the run up to qualifiers, countries will not play in one big tournament in one country but will play on a home and away system. This means people get to see their national teams playing. For example, in our zone, historically Mozambique and Angola are the two countries that repeatedly host major competitions which means Mozambicans and Angolans have been able to enjoy and watch their national teams play. Under the new system, all countries participating in qualifiers will have to host games. Within this strategy, the idea evokes national pride and it can grow the sport’s popularity,” she continued.

“Federations have been encouraged to embark on deliberate strategies aimed at growing youth (under 18 – mini) and women’s basketball. It is said in African women sport, basketball draws the most crowds. So it is clear there is a great opportunity to grow popularity of the sport by working on factors such as basketball skills so that more crowds will want to watch women’s and youth basketball games.

Currently there exists a great gap in terms of fan base and interest between men’s and women/ youth basketball. During the farewell dinner last night, some awards were given out and Africa- through Mozambique and Rwanda got silver and bronze awards respectively in recognition of their work in women’s basketball. So we have been encouraged to invest in competition systems for the children,” said the former women’s national team player.

In the end, she revealed that Botswana was lauded for being the only African country to have females hold positions of President and Secretary General.

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