Hoops! with MWEMBE KAONA
THIS weekendâ€™s inaugural OG Electrical Under-15 Basketball tournament slated for the Olympic Youth Development Centre indoor arena will go a long way in supporting the development of basketball, a sport that is in dire need of corporate support.
With sponsorship sourced through sports administrator Haroon Ghumra and to be staged by the Youth Basketball League under the patronage of the Zambia Basketball Federation, the four top developing sides will contest for the silverware.
It is said that children, youth and adults need to do the right things at the right time to develop in their sport or activity, hence the tournament is a timely event that also supports ZBAFs Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD).
Basically LTAD describes the things athletes need to be doing at specific ages and stages and the O G Electrical Under-15 Basketball tournament is a stage in the development process.
Although only the Lusaka-based boys team will take part, there has been assurance from the sponsors that it will be an annual event that will grow from strength to strength.
I therefore applaud the sponsors for sparing some thought.
Hopefully next year it will cover not only the male but the females too for basketball is a sport that over the years has developed without gender bias.
Just what should be the expected outcomes of this event that will see the participants go home with something to show?
To begin with, the boys will play full regulation matches which will serves as a point of exposure to highly competitive matches, especially that the Under-16 Africa Cup of Nations tournament is around the corner.
Usually, our athletes fail to perform well in such competitions due to stage fright as a result of lack of exposure.
Secondly, the event should provide a selling point for not only the sponsors but the players and youth basketball in general.
The players will get to be identified by coaches who seek raw talent for their sides of tomorrow.
I therefore hope that those with academies in their communities or clubs will spare time to watch the tournament.
As for youth basketball, the event will have put a case across for a need for more sponsors to give the sport attention.
Youth basketball is the foundation for tomorrowâ€™s champions, and at a time when the nation is lamenting at low levels of participation at the All-Africa and Olympic Games, it is time to invest in this area.
The International Basketball Federation places great emphasis on developing the young, hence a number of age limit competitions are a regular feature on the world calendar.
Meanwhile, may I offer congratulations to the netball national team for winning their first-ever trophy outside Africa at the Netball World Nations tournament in Singapore.
Being similar to basketball with the difference being goal systems and no bouncing when moving the ball, it undoubtedly caught the attention of the masses and they deserve a big welcome home!
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Hoops! with MWEMBE KAONA