Basketball Sport

Mozambique model for African basketball

HOOPS! with MWEMBE KAONA
THE 2015 league season will soon get under-way after the annual general meeting was held and next weekend in Lusaka the Southern region are expected to raise the curtains ahead of the new season when they hold their season opening tournament but let me once again discuss the concept of a national Super League as discussed last week.
This time I would like to focus on the Mozambican league, which pundits once described as model of growth for other African basketball federations.
The Mozambique Basketball Federation, known as Federação Moçambicana de Basquetebol, was affiliated to the world basketball governing body, FIBA, in 1978 with its seat of power in Maputo, the capital city of the Indian Ocean coastal nation that neighbours Zambia to the south east.
Its national league [Men, Women] is structured in a way that brings out the best from its clubs and by extension the players, this manner analysts say was the results which culminated in the three clubs (Desportivo, Ferroviario and I.S.P.U) that represented the FIBA Africa Zone-6 country reaching the semi-finals of the 2008 13th FIBA Africa Champions Cup for Women won by Despotivo basketball club of Maputo.
Mozambique is made up of ten provinces with Maputo as its capital. It became a member of the Commonwealth in 1995 as the only non-British in that body of comity of nations.
The national men and women league, run from November to September with teams playing on a provincial basis amongst them in order to save costs, as most teams cannot afford the luxury of travelling every now and then to honour league matches.
Following the conclusion of the provincial leagues, the national finals are played to determine the country’s champion, something similar to what is obtaining in Zambia.
According to the country’s former basketball chief, who is now vice-president for FIBA Africa, Anibal Manave, the system was adopted after a careful study by the federation on how best to optimise lean resources and give the best to clubs and players.
In Maputo, for example, undoubtedly the centre of the country’s basketball, there are eight clubs [male and female] therefore some sort of priority is given to it, and the eight teams played a best of three series each making a total of about twenty-one matches at the regular season.
It is the same in other provinces, where matches are played on weekly basis among teams within each of the provinces in order to create a level playing ground and give sense of belonging to all clubs in the country.
This system has paid off tremendously and the results are showing with the performance of their national teams at major championship in recent times and the clubs putting up a good showing. Unlike in the past, when Mozambican teams had to struggle to put together one club for continental championship, the reverse is the case today.
There is something to learn from this system. Have a blessed week !
mdkaona@gmail.com

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