Namibia could have a team in new African basketball league

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Michael Uugwanga

Windhoek - Namibia is considering forming a basketball club to represent the country in the new African basketball league once resources become available, Andrew Masango, President of the Namibia Basketball Federation (NBF) has said.

Former US President Barack Obama launched the Basketball Africa League (BAL) last month to promote basketball on the continent and make the sport one of the most appealing codes in Africa.

The BAL was borne out of a collaboration between the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the sport’s global governing body, the Federation of International Basketball Association (FIBA).

The 12-team league will begin play in January 2020 with Obama among those expected to have direct involvement with its operations, although his role is yet to be defined.

Qualification tournaments to the 2020 edition will be held later this year to determine the clubs that will partake in the league.

According to SportsPro, a London-based media company, this is the first time the NBA has been involved in the operation of a league outside North America.

The NBA and FIBA’s involvement will include financial support and resources towards developing basketball on the continent, as well as providing training for players, coaches and referees and infrastructure for the new league.

The NBA has held three games in Africa since 2015, selling out all of them. Many of the league’s current players and coaches, along with several legends and Hall of Famers, have been part of those trips, writes SportsPro.

US league partners Nike and Pepsi are keen on BAL deals.

Namibia was not mentioned in the report, as part of the 12-team league with African basketball powerhouses such as Angola, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia. However, Masango said the new African basketball league would boost the growth of basketball in the country that is currently facing extinction due to lack of sponsors and lack of public interest.

Currently, Namibia’s only competitive basketball league, besides the schools league, is the Khomas Basketball Association (KBA) that consists mainly of teams from Windhoek and Tsumeb.

The KBA league currently has 18 teams, including four female clubs.

 

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