The president of the Gambia Basketball Association, Muhammed Papa Njie, has hailed the performance of the Gambian side despite finishing bottom in the tri-nation tournament, played as part of President Jammeh's 48th birthday.
The Gambian team lost both group stage games to eventual winners Senegal and runners-up Mauritania, but despite the poor showing, the GBA President said they have done well, considering the fact that the national team has just been formed.
"I think they have done very well, considering that in eight years, this is the first time actually they have participated in a competitive game and our league just started this year. The first round 20 points and in the second round it went up to 80 and 100. The next level is to have very good teams. Senegal is one of the top teams (in Africa). They did their own quota and they performed well. We are a little disappointed but that's basketball. We really have to practice and if you look at the Senegalese team, they were very good at three points and we didn't have that. So it's all about aiming to be like them and eventually being better than them," he further stated.
He explained that apart from celebrating President Jammeh's birthday, the tournament provided the Gambian side the opportunity to measure its mettle against established teams in the sport. "I think we have got our objectives, that was to show the level of basketball. If you want to be the best you have to play with the best and I think that's what showed to the boys that in order to be the best, we have to play with the best and see how they play and at first, the boys panicked a little bit. Some of them (players) that was their first time to have an international competition. In the second game, they played very well.
"As I also said in my previous interview, we need an indoor basketball court to challenge all these countries, because, most of the kids we want to catch them young. In the summer it usually rains and then the kids go and play other disciplines. So I am appealing to His Excellency, President Jammeh and everybody to please help us to have indoor basketball courts. We need to get indoor basketball courts in all the regions because that is all about decentralisation. Then we will be able to get good players from the regions," he added.