27 August 2008

CAMEROON : 5th Kossengwe Basketball Camp Underway in Yaounde

by Fred Vubem

The 5th edition of the of the Kossengwe International basketball training camp is currently taking place at the sports complex of the presidential guard in Obili in Yaounde. The training camp supervised by experts from the United States of America, brings together basketball trainers and players from Nigeria, Chad, Gabon, Congo and host country, Cameroon. Special focus this year will be on the 'Box It Out' programme aimed at creating HIV awareness among the youths.

Speaking during the opening ceremony, the camp promoter and founder, Joe Touomou, said the aim of the camp was not only to groom professional basketball talents, but also to enable youths become better citizens in life through the practise of basketball. He called on the campers to be disciplined, hardworking and develop team spirit, which are all values acquired through the practise of basketball. He disclosed that Kossengwe has the ambition of organising international basketball tournaments in Cameroon which will witness the participation of professional basketball players so as to inspire the youth.

The training will comprise both practical and theoretical lessons and participants are expected at the end to present a report of activities. The social part of the training will be assured by a non profit making organisation based in the US known as "Hoops for Africa" which is out to use sports and basketball in particular as a tool for education. They will be training campers as peer educators in creating HIV awareness among the youths in their respective countries. Other than HIV/AIDS, Kossengwe equally educates youths on important issues such as illegal immigration and the environment.

Kossengwe has helped groomed basketball talents in Cameroon as participants in the camp were part of the junior national basketball team that was vice African champion in Dakar-Senegal. The Kossengwe graduates were equally part of the senior basketball national team that came second in the African championships in Angola. Kossengwe has equally granted scholarships to 30 youths from Chad, Nigeria and Cameroon who are now studying and playing basketball in colleges and high schools in the US. Kossengwe is made up mostly of former basketball players who want to offer youths better opportunities than they had in basketball.

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