All set for Summer Slam basketball tournament

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Mikia Kalati

The Lesotho Basketball Association (LVA) is set to hold its year-ending Summer Slam Charity Tournament at Lehakoe Centre in Maseru next weekend.

According to LVA public relations officer, Ratšolo Molupe, eleven teams are expected at the two-day year-ending annual tournament, among them Swaziland’s Mbabane Raptors and Good Fellas of South Africa.

“As usual, we expect a very competitive tournament,” Molupe said. “We will first hold a fundraising fun-walk this Saturday since this tournament is meant to raise funds for charity.

“Doing charity work has become part and parcel of this tournament as we would want to give back to the community and also instill the love of basketball among disadvantaged kids.”

Molupe said 2015 has been a very successful year for basketball, although sponsorship remains a challenge. Next weekend’s tournament still has no sponsor, Molupe added.

“This is one department which remains a big challenge for us, but we have never given up despite the difficult circumstances we face,” said Molupe.

“We remain confident because we have managed to host a lot of tournaments despite the financial challenges we face.

“For us, it is all about taking the sport to another level, which is why we are so determined to push on despite the difficulties.”

Meanwhile, Molupe said the association sought to attract more women into the sport as their last championship, the Independence Tournament held in October, had no female teams.

“The association is committed to bringing more women into the sport and also making resources available for youngsters to hone their basketball skills,” Molupe said.

Molupe also said hosting National Basketball Association star Festus Ezeli-Ndulue, through a partnership with Econet Telcom Lesotho, was great promotion for the sport.

The 25-year-old Nigerian was in the country in August for coaching clinics at Lehakoe Club and sharing his journey to the top with local basketball enthusiasts.

“It’s been a year of many events as far as our sport is concerned and it has really helped us grow as an association.”

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