31 January 2009

KENYA : Mombasa basketball court repossessed

The Coast Basketball Association has received a perfect New Year’s gift from the Mombasa Municipal Council.

Mombasa mayor, Ahmed Mohdhar, has repossessed the Tononoka grounds’ basketball court which was grabbed by a private developer two decades ago and turned into a church.
The mayor has directed that it be renovated into a modern basketball court and given back to the Coast Basketball Association.
And to show his seriousness and willingness to support the game in the Coast Province, mayor Mohdhar has directed the Mombasa Municipal Council engineers to move onto the site and ensure the basketball court, which used to host major tournaments including the Coast schools games before being grabbed in 1993, be renovated into a sports complex with a modern basketball court at the council’s cost.

After succeeding in ensuring the worshippers were out of the venue, the mayor sent a contractor to the site who demolished all the structures that had been erected and put up a perimeter wall around the entire ground and a gate guarded with a municipal council guards to give way for the start of the renovation.
“This is just one of the steps I’m taking to improve the standard of sports in general and basketball in particular at the coast,” Mohdhar said in an interview with the Daily Nation.

He said it was unfortunate that such a social facility could be grabbed by a private developer leaving the youths around the area with no playing grounds and therefore encouraging them to engage in illicit activities.

The mayor recently sponsored a month long basketball tournament which attracted 32 teams from all over the Coast province.

Fully sponsor team

“I want as many teams as possible to play the game of basketball whether it will mean forming the Mombasa Municipal Council’s basketball team, so that it can be easy for us to participate in the inter-cities basketball championships as is the case with other cities like Kampala, Dar es salaam and Arusha,” he said.

Mohdhar and Mombasa town clerk, Tubman Otieno, have promised to fully sponsor the Mombasa team for next year’s inter-cities basketball tournament to be held in Arusha in May.

Coast Basketball Association chairman, Hilmi Ali, said the mayor’s move to repossess the former basketball court was a perfect New Year’s gift saying it will go a long way in encouraging the youths to take up the sport.
“Without these venues, many of the youths had turned into idlers with a big percentage from this densely populated area resorting to the use of drugs and other illicit activities, all which will now be a thing of the past as we intend to use basketball to keep them busy,” said Hilmi who was speaking after the CBA Bank presented the mayor with an assortment of goods for the mayor’s Christmas Tree Fund said.

He praised the mayor and the town kind for the kind gesture and appealed to other individuals and companies to emulate the two.

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