Tourney brings curtain down on b’ball season

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Mikia Kalati

THE Summer Slam Charity Tournament which was held over the weekend at Lehakoe Recreation Centre in Maseru brought curtain down on the domestic basketball season.

South African club, Phoenix Flames won the female category of the tournament while Foxes from Zimbabwe triumphed in the males.

Lesotho Basketball Association Public Relations Officer, Ratšolo Molupe, this week told this publication that this was their last competition and the teams will take a deserved break after a long and busy year.

He bemoaned lack of their own infrastructure, saying they had to fork out M15 000 in order to use the indoors courts at the Lehakoe Recreation Centre for the tournament.

“Everything went according to plan except that the rains forced us to use the indoors playing courts at Lehakoe,” Ratšolo said.

“That was a major setback because we had to pay M15 000 for the indoor courts and it would have been much cheaper if we were using outside courts.

‘We also experienced a lot of inconvenience as the courts were also booked for other sporting activities which meant that some of the games had to be delayed. Nonetheless the games went ahead and we are happy.”

Molupe also made an impassioned plea to the government to meet them half way by building sports facilities around the country in order to improve the standards of basketball and sports in general.

He said local teams had shown lots of improvement thanks to the exposure generated from regularly participating in international competitions.

“The team that won the male’s competition is number one in Zimbabwe but they had to sweat in order to win the competition. So I think we are slowly closing the gap because our teams did well.

“All that we need is to have proper facilities because we do not face the same problem when we are visiting neighboring countries.

“It’s only when we have proper facilities that we will not have to spend the little subvention we get on hiring the playing courts as is the case currently.”

He also said they more needed to done to ensure the country had enough international standard referees who would not struggle when officiating big international games.

“One of those areas that we have to improve on is that of officiating so that our referees do not have stage fright when they have to officiate in international tournaments.

“You could tell during the tournament that for some of our referees, officiating was too much of a responsibility but we are getting there and the sport has improved a lot and our players have also gathered a lot of international exposure.

“The numbers have also improved and clubs have big pool of players to choose from.”

Molupe also thanked companies like Basali Basali, Maboloka Natural Spring Water and Berltex Printers for sponsoring the event.

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