GABORONE, BOTSWANA; Botswana Basketball Association (BBA) under tutelage of its President, Boineelo Hardy has once again gotten the nod to host the International Basketball Foundation (IBF) Young Lions Cup Finals , in Gaborone this weekend (12/01/2019 – 13/01/2019) at Molapo Crossing.
The International Basketball Federation (IBF) 3×3 Young Lions Cup finals will be played from 1400hrs – 1800hrs on both days. Participating countries are; Botswana, Burundi, Mauritius, Comoros, Seychelles, Lesotho, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Swaziland.
The upcoming tourney comes after the success of the 2017 competition that saw Botswana spread its wings across the country to hold mini tournaments in five local regions to fully undertake the purpose of a two – days tourney. The tournament that will see 10 countries partake in is scheduled for Gaborone on the 12-13 of January.
During the weekend of the tourney, there will also be a 3×3 referees training, where a FIBA 3X3 expert will train 20 referees, 12 from Botswana as well as 8 from the region.
Briefing members of the media this morning, (Wednesday) in Gaborone, Hardy said despite their code being a minority code, the tournament has managed to help them spread the sport to 5 regions in Gaborone.
She added that they are in the process of coming up with the best team to represent Botswana. Hardy also applauded her committee for acting professionally and handling the sport with legacy projects that placed Botswana in pole position to host again.
“It’s the second edition of the tournament and Botswana is hosting once again. It was supposed to be staged in December but due to its clash with the Region 5 youth games which Botswana hosted we postponed it to this January. My interest of the tourney is the legacy. We depend on minimal budget from Botswana National Sport Council (BNSC) but the IBF have come in to support us with specific balls for the tournament.
We have over 140 balls for the 3by3 games which many African countries don’t have so to us it’s a right step to further establish this part of the game because it’s also new. Furthermore, there will be training of local referees because it’s not the same rules and regulations and they will be trained by renowned FIBA officials,” said Hardy.
“We have also developed structures across the country. Our team is made out of five regions. Basketball is now across the country. These are the benefits of playing host. We thank IBF for entrusting us with hosting the tourney again this year. The sponsors have also come forth with MRI-Botswana Medical Rescue fully giving us all the medical and emergency support.”
Meanwhile, IBF Foundation Senior Associate Corporate Social Responsibility, Theren Bullock said although they are relatively new to the Southern African set up, they have been in contact with the regional office in Abidjan, Ivory Coast and local federations to establish more mentorship programmes.
“We take social and legacy projects seriously. We started the foundation in 2008 and currently we have 13 projects underway. Within our project we use the power of basketball to empower the youth. Lions Cup started in the Caribbean Islands for under-18s and we do this parallel with the leadership programme. We have duplicated this in Southern Africa and Botswana has been a success story to host. We feel responsible to do more, there will be more opportunities for these athletes as they grow and we can only give them tools to become better mates and leaders in the future.”
For the leadership program, BBA has engaged an independent mentoring coach, brand and behavior communication strategies, Thandie Tumelo to guide all the athletes of 10 countries.
The visiting countries are expected to start arriving from today (Wednesday) until Friday ahead of the workshops that will take place alongside the tournament.