HOOPS! with MWEMBE KAONA
WITH an important calendar of international activities in the coming year, concern has been raised in various quarters as to whether the men and women senior national teams will miss another opportunity to play in the African Cup of Nations dubbed the Afro Basketball Championships whose qualification series are supposed to be concluded by May 2017.
The apprehension arises from the previous Afrobasket when disappointment rippled through the basketball fraternity after the teams failed to travel just next door in Zimbabwe where the Zone Six Championships were held.
The year was 2015 and the purpose then was to qualify for the Afrobasket and All-Africa Games and thanks to Zambiaâ€™s absence, Zimbabwe had an easy path with its menâ€™s team.
It is against this background that Paul Mwale head coach at Lusaka City Council Basketball Club proposed that basketball bloggers on social media who number 4,200 should each contribute a Kwacha per day which in a year would tally to K 1,512,000 hence generating the much needed funds to enable the national teams participate in various official engagements.
Mwale posted â€œBasketball 101 group has over 4,200 members. If we all contributed ZMK 1.00 a day, thatâ€™s ZMK 4,200 a day and ZMK 126,000 a month and ZMK 1,512,000 a year. Say that 50 percent of the accounts are inactive, or unable to make the contribution or even fake accounts this would work out to ZMK 756,000.
In the past, we have failed to take our national teams for international engagements due to lack of funds, I strongly believe that if we work together we would be able to raise funds for our teams to go represent us in future assignments, donâ€™t just sit back and complain but play an active role to see representation at all levels.â€
Paul is very passionate about the growth and development of basketball in Zambia and he is one that does not see the game limited to the local league but going beyond the borders of this beautiful country and the continent at large.
His idea received overwhelming response in support of the concept and I agree with him that the key lies in what he underlined, togetherness.
Unity of purpose is an essential ingredient for the basketball family to attract sponsorship and with so many brilliant minds and determined souls, mountains can be moved.
This time around the journey which starts in 2017 will culminate in qualifying to the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup in China for the men and therefrom to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
The executiveâ€™s decision to enter the teams in the competitions calls for hard work from all stakeholders so that all critics and doubters may be proved wrong, especially with the womenâ€™s teams who feel they are a neglected gender.
Local businessman and chairman of both Midlands Basketball Association and Matero Magic Basketball Club, who is spearheading fundraising for the Zambia Basketball Federation is highly optimistic that the required monies will be raised.
HOOPS! with MWEMBE KAONA