The Botswana Basketball Association (BBA) has been commended for its efforts of development of basketball sport in the country. The Federation of International Basketball Association (FIBA) – Africa president, Hamane Niang heaped praises on BBA this week, saying the association has over the years shown some urgency to grow and take part in the development of basketball locally and regionally. Niang said this at the unveiling of the International Basketball Foundation (IBF) 3 x 3 Young Lions Cup final in Gaborone. The tournament that is hosted by Botswana this weekend will see 20 teams from 10 African countries competing as a way of developing the 3 x 3 basketball format. The tournament which is meant to be a development exercise is played by both Boys and Girls U-18 teams from Botswana, Comoros, Namibia, Mauritius, Burundi, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Lesotho and Djibouti. This is the first of its kind tournament to be held in Africa and Botswana has been chosen to host it. Niang, who also doubles as FIBA – World vice president, said this international tournament was taken into Botswana because of the liveliness BBA has shown.
The 3 x 3 basketball format is new to Botswana and Niang said: “Our aim is to project the growth of this tournament as well look to develop it from the young age”. Only the U-18s will be taking part in this tournament. He said the tournament – held in conjunction with IBF – will provide a great opportunity for Botswana to grow in basketball. BAA president Boineelo Hardy said with the 3 x 3 basketball having been recently included at the Olympics this is a great opportunity for local players. Hardy said the tournament will expose local players to the 3 x 3 basketball format. She said the main aim is to have the game played from the young age and will continue with the development locally. Hardy also said they are happy that the tournament will leave some legacy for Botswana as a number of people have been trained to be 3 x 3 basketball coordinators. “One person has been trained in South Africa to become the 3 x 3 country coordinator. This person then came back and trained another six people to man the regions,” she said. Furthermore Hardy said the hosting of tournaments provide a better chance for local players to compete against other countries which would in actual fact be difficult if the country did not host. Botswana recently hosted the Zone VI Basketball Champions Cup preliminary games which were hailed as a success.