16 January 2014

GAMBIA : Rebirth of Gambian Basketball in Full Swing

The game of basketball had been dormant in the country for almost a decade until the present executive of the Gambia Basketball Association (GBA) took office, a couple of years ago. The sport has since witnessed a remarkable transformation with the executive working tirelessly to bring back its glory days.
This past weekend, the GBA, in partnership with the United States Embassy in Banjul, Africell, Skye Bank, DBC and West Coast Radio (WCR) completed the first phase of this year's 3 on 3 basketball tournament, at the Independence Stadium Court in Bakau. The tournament which is in its second year, drew massive participation from young and old players.
Speaking to Observer Sports ahead of the final instalment of games this weekend, the secretary -general of the GBA, Abdoulie Jallow pointed out that the impressive turnout was because of the fact that the fans and players had missed the game which took a break, due to the rainy season.
"People have come out, they have been missing basketball and as we are trying to complete the third day of the games, they have been going on successfully and it seems like everybody is enjoying themselves. We had promised that this second season of our executive, we are going to be more exciting and we are in no doubt in that direction. We hope that the season will be completed in this way, as we looked at both having fun while also looking grassroots level. We want to take basketball to another level," Jallow told this reporter.
He added: "We just have to take this to be the ice-breaker. When you see everybody playing together and mixing, you see the charge d ' affaire of the US embassy, the US peace corp volunteers, you see Africell here, you see other teams from other institutions, it's just an ice-breaker that we all want. We are into developing basketball and we would want to take the game to another level. So when we come to the proper competitive games,we would compete fiercely but fairly just as my president (Papa Njie) would say."
When asked about the drive behind the untiring energy from the GBA executive to witness a turnaround in the fortunes of the game in the country, Jallow opined that it is all derived from the passion for sport.
Jallow, who concluded by sayng that he has spotted talents during the tournament, said what is necessary to nurture those promising talents is to capacitate basketball coaches, which he said the GBA is looking into in order to make their respective players better.
Also, speaking to Observer Sports was the president of the GBA, Muhammadou Papa Njie, who sounded his immense impression at the participation of the tournament. "Words cannot even express how I feel, [and] I think that also goes to all my executive members, [because] we were not expecting the turnout we got. We had about 40 teams in both men and women categories and this is the first time in the history of Gambian basketball to get all these teams together. So, we have achieved our target already even without playing the finals. I also really want to thank the supporters who came out in their large numbers. So am really excited and it just goes to show that basketball is about to be the number one sport in The Gambia," the confident- looking Njie intimated.
When quizzed as to the rationale behind the tournament, Njie replied that it's another form of basketball, slightly different from the standard form of the game which is five. He added that the 3 on 3 is played on a half court, but the rules to the competitions remained the same.
"Basically, it's another form of basketball that is a crowd puller and this is the second time we are doing it. It is a signal we give out to people that the season is about to start and we also want to show to everybody that basketball is not about the active person, but is also for the youth, young girls, young boys, the elderly [as well]," he stressed.
In conclusion, the basketball boss singled out appreciation to both the volleyball and wrestling associations for their support throughout the tournament. He equally thanked all the sponsors who have helped GBA towards the success of the tournament. Muhammed Njie and Adama Drammeh, both league players expressed delight at the tournament and then thanked the GBA for reviving the game.

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