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Zimbabwe dominates Lions cup

Following two days of gruelling high level 3x3 basketball accompanied by insightful life skills and team building exercises, the IBF 3x3 Young Lions Cup has come and gone.

For the first time in history, 16  U18 teams who won their national qualifiers in Botswana, Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Mauritius, Namibia, Seychelles, Swaziland and Zimbabwe descended on Gaborone and battled it out in the courts  all with the hope of winning some silverware. 

It was Zimbabwe who however, proved to be a force to be reckon with in the 3x3 version of the game as they walked away with both gold medals in the girls and boys category. 

Their team’s domination in the courts was also accompanied by individual brilliance as Happiness Maroto and Charles Mukweva where vote Most Valuable Players (MVP) in both girls and boys categories respectively.

Salim Ibrahim from Comoros won the three point shoot-out contest and Hope Makin won the skills contest, earning a trophy for Swaziland while Jeremie Letandrie from Mauritius won the dunk contest with a monumental dunk. The IBF sportsmanship award was awarded to Divine Irakoze from Burundi.

With 3x3 version been relatively new in Botswana, it is no surprise that the local boys team, Raptors, which comprised of Letso Tladi, Bojelo Tiroyakgosi, Karim Shehu, Keratile Dikakanyo and girls team Grenades, which is made up of Katlego Jankie, Ritha Tonkope, Nsagwa Ramatebele, Motlatsi Machana found the results hard to come by with all local teams finishing outside the medals brackets.

Despite gaining international playing experience, the youth gained important social skills to take back to their respective country as the players were motivated and given the knowledge to be leaders and to use basketball to inspire change in their own communities.

In an interview, International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Africa, president Hamane Niang expressed delight over the tournaments’ proceedings.

He   indicated that it was FIBA’s mission to use the power of basketball as a catalyst to initiate positive change and help build stronger communities. 

He said the tournament had helped to unearth young talent that need to be nurtured and transformed in to the professionalism in the further.  

He however noted that the results on the court should not be looked at to consider the level of youth basketball in African countries as more effort was also channeled on empowering the youth in to responsible.  

Niang highlighted that in organising the event, the International Basketball Foundation wanted to ignite a spark and that youth would become ambassadors of the Basketball For Good movement in their communities. ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : Thato Mosinyi

Location : GABORONE

Event : Basketball Young Lions Cup

Date : Dec 05 Tue,2017

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