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Basketball fraternity mourns Chongwe

A FORTNIGHT ago, the basketball family lost another valuable member in Ignatius Mumba Chongwe, a legal practitioner who dedicated his volunteer time to the development of youth basketball on the Copperbelt, where he was in charge of youth development in the Copperbelt Basketball Association.
The soft-spoken Chongwe was a sports analyst and sports administrator who, in addition to his role in the CBA served as committee member for Football Association of Zambia Division One side Kitwe United.
His passing on sent shock-waves as he was a dependable member who did a lot in terms of setting up youth structures and training youth coaches plus match officials.
CBA chairman Andrew Nyirenda recalled that he joined basketball in 2014 simply out of his own will by asking to help promote the sport at grassroot level.
Taking up the responsibility, he drew up a plan that birthed the Copperbelt Youth Basketball league catering for the under-12, under-15 and under-18s thus creating a nursery for the provincial senior teams.
He was passionate about his involvement in the game hence spared personal resources to make things happen if sponsors were not forthcoming.
He assisted CBA – League B teams in terms of material support and stood as an advocate for developmental basketball.
A regular reader of this column, he often called or e- mailed this writer to share a view on matters raised on this platform.
His passing on opened up wounds as the basketball fraternity was yet to recover from the loss of another youth basketball activist in Alinafe Mwale.
The two-day Legends basketball tournament held over the Easter weekend at Zamsure Sports Complex in Lusaka turned out to be a resounding success as the tournament marked its second anniversary with so much to sweat about for those who came out of retirement to play in support of the Youth Basketball League.
Men and women basketball players of yesteryear turned up in numbers to have fun but more importantly for the cause of basketball development.
The basketball fraternity in Zambia is one of the richest both in terms of human and material resources but a lot of it goes untapped for a number of reasons and it is therefore incumbent upon everyone capable to lay down what they have been endowed with for the sake of the game.
Skills acquired over the years both in terms of training and experience should be shared among the upcoming administrators and coaches.
The legends tournament looks set to grow and I envision that the next edition should be spiced with teams from the SADC region to make it even more exciting.
Have a blessed week!