16 April 2009

SEYCHELLES : Ambitious youth league to groom future stars

SEYCHELLES’ basketball has an ambitious youth development programme aimed at grooming the country’s future star players.
New Seychelles Basketball Federation (SBF) chairman Roy Collie believes in what his committee is doing and at the same time counts on the involvement of different partners to see the programme succeed.
“We will organise one-day jamborees, mini-basketball and inter-school competitions at primary and secondary levels to get more youngsters involved in basketball,” Collie told Sports Nation in an interview earlier this week.
“It’s the federation’s duty to develop the sport and bring it to a new high. I urge the Seychellois kids always to do that which will bring glory to the family name and to the nation. Basketball will keep you (children) away from illicit substances like drugs,” he added.

The SBF hopes to bring the programme to youth across the country and at the same time help to ensure young athletes at all levels have an early positive experience with basketball by getting the same opportunities to play the game.
“We want the children to have equal opportunities as they will become the country’s future star players. They have to be well taken care of. This is why we have to pay their bus, boat and air fares when they are going to play matches.
“With this in mind, we need financial support to make the project work and become a success,” noted Mr Collie.

The first inter-school knockout competition for secondary schools will take place on Saturday, starting at 9am at the Palais des Sports.
The following Saturday – April 25 – primary students from Praslin will compete in a one-day mini-basketball jamboree, starting at 9am at the Grand Anse Praslin court.

On the same day, main sponsor Cable & Wireless will officially launch the mini-basketball programme on the island.

On Saturday May 2, it will be the turn of primary students from La Digue to compete in a one-day jamboree.
Other inter-school knockout competitions also feature on the calendar, among them the Robert Smith Memorial Cup. This is a league competition for school teams from Mahe, Praslin and La Digue.
Teams from La Digue and Praslin will play on a home and away basis with the winners progressing to the November 28 finals at Victoria Gymnasium against the winners from Mahe.
The Memorial Cup is played in memory of the late American basketball technical adviser Robert Smith, who played an important role in the country’s youth development programme and introduced ‘baby basketball’ here.
Not only the players will be taken care of this year, young coaches and officials are also expected to follow courses to upgrade their level of performance.

According to Mr Collie, experienced coaches will be on hand during the competitions to choose players to form part of the female and male cadet teams, who will compete in the league championships.
Players who used to form part of the old cadet teams have been promoted to the junior teams.

The three coaches chosen to work with the cadet teams are Patricia Samynadin, Grégoire Scholastique and Jerry Andrew. They will be helped by Nigerians Alao Solomon and Simon Pusam.
“We are investing time and resources to make the programme a success. We now need the backing of sponsors to make things move in the right direction,” said Mr Collie.

He added that there is a need to have managers for all the teams to make sure everything goes on smoothly.
“People tend to believe that if they are asked to be a team manager, they have to shoulder the sponsorship burden. This is not true. A manager needs to make sure the players get all they need on time. This is a manager’s job,” he said.

“The federation will look for sponsorship. Again, we call on potential sponsors to come forward because our aim is to bring the sport to an unprecedented level.”

G. G.

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