As the city of Lobatse celebrates 120 years, they will host Basketball Regional Tournament as from October 20-26 as part of the town’s festivities. The tournament has attracted countries that have professional basketball players unlike Botswana who have amateur players. The countries that will battle it out are Angola, Mozambique, Zambia and hosts Botswana. Botswana Basketball Association (BBA) President Boineelo Hardy said they are very excited to be taking the event outside Gaborone, saying with Lobatse celebrating 120 years it is only fitting that they become part of the celebrations of the historic town. She said the local organising committee has put a lot of effort into making sure that the games are successful. “This is exciting because it will also bring attention to the country and it will enable us to spread awareness of basketball which has always been considered a game for those who are in Gaborone only,” she said. LOC chairperson Dr Edwin Dikoloti said Angola and Mozambique are bringing very competitive teams because they run a professional basketball leagues. “These competitions have never been held elsewhere other than Mozambique and Angola. This gives us great pleasure that now as Botswana we are hosting them,” he said. Some 16 teams will be participating - eight men’s teams and eight women’s teams.
Botswana will be represented by Troopers and Dolphins men as well as Police V and BDF V women. He said the tickets for the games will cost just P10 only in order to give as many people as they can the chance to be able to attend them. He said the leadership of Lobatse is supporting them and has been involved and helpful in the planning of this event. He called on for businesses to come and be part of the games as well. He said match officials will be drawn from the DRC, France and Tanzania. The winners in the men’s section will represent the region at the continental championships to be held in Tunisia in December. Teams that progress from the women’s section will proceed to the Africa competition in Angola next month. Mothusi Thipe said the stage creates a wonderful arena as the championship is possibly the best in Africa that the best teams participate in. Ambassador of the tournament Churchill Barrow said he is very happy that the LOC decided to have a local athlete as an ambassador. Barrow has had an incredible career in basketball that has seen him play across the world having been part of the Canadian, American, South African and Mozambican basketball scenes. The 2017 Zone VI club championships preliminaries form the first stage of qualification for Basketball Clubs to the World Championships Cup.