28 February 2014

UGANDA : Miss Uganda to Grace FNL Tonight

Miss Uganda Stella Nantumbwe has been off the radar lately. Ever since she made news when she took part in the Miss World contest last year, Nantumbwe has not featured a lot in the news. This evening, however, the 23-year-old will be the star attraction in the third week of the Friday Night Lights Basketball tournament [FNL} at the YMCA grounds.
"I have not been off the radar; I have just been quite busy doing activism work for Aids patients and less on the social scene," Nantumbwe told The Observer.
FNL has attracted a number of socialites in the past year, although most of them had no clue or little knowledge about the game when given a chance to play. Nantumbwe, on the other hand, says she is not in that boat: "I might be a bit rusty but I used to play basketball though just for fun. You can even expect me to score a basket."
She will play for FNL two-time champions Team Ikong, which will take on Team Sudi. To spice it up further, first runner-up Anita Kyarimpa will play on the opposing team. And like Nantumbwe, she is looking forward to the game, but says she is not well versed with it.
Besides basketball, there will be a surprise performance; last week had Jackie Chandiru and Rabadaba who thrilled the crowd. The fans will also take part in other challenges such as Castle Lite's mystery box, KCB's shoot for cash and Rwenzori's treasure hunt. They will stand to win cash prizes, a flat screen TV and Castle Lite merchandise, among others.
To be part of the fun, you will have to pay Shs 5,000 ordinary and Shs 10,000 VIP at YMCA grounds.

NIGERIA : Nestlé Milo Basketball Targets 7,000 Secondary Schools

Following the gains of the previous National Secondary Schools Basketball Championship, the sponsor, Nestle Milo, has decided to increase the number of participating schools to 7,000, when the 16th edition of the competition gets underway next month.
The Managing Director of the company, Mr. Dharnesh Gordhon, made the confirmation on Wednesday at a press conference held in Lagos.
He said the company is glad to be associated with the development in the sport has achieved in the recent years and welcomed the idea to increase it's scope and accommodate many more talents discovered. "Our belief that sports serves as a suitable platform for youths to imbibe important values such as - honesty, teamwork, fair play, respect, adherence to rules, discipline and resilience-has been the motivating factor behind our commitment," he stated.
This year's championship, tagged 'Slam Like a Champ' will accommodate schools from all the 36 states and Abuja. As customary, state preliminaries are to run to determine each state's champion. These champions will then be grouped into conferences and will represent their states and will represent their states in the conferences. The winner of each conference qualifies for the national finals to be held in Lagos later in the year.
There will be four conferences namely, Atlantic conference in Asaba, Savanna conference in Kaduna, Central conference in Akure and Western conference in Ibadan.
Cash awards and gift would be won at the end of every conference and 12 teams will converge at the National Stadium in Lagos for the grand finale. There is a guaranteed sum of N200,000 for every team participating in the final and the overall winner will receive additional N150,000 while second and third placed teams will go home with N120,000 and N100,000 respectively.
The Managing Director also disclosed that there will be a special training camp after the event for players that have distinguished themselves during the competition."Milo in conjunction with Giants of Africa and some NBA players from USA will organise this unique basketball training programme called 'Nestle Milo Top 50' camp," he explained.

RWANDA : APR BBC looking for second successive win


APR BBC last won the league title in 2010, but reached the playoffs finals two seasons ago when they lost to Espoir, seen above. File
The national basketball league continues this evening with title contenders APR taking on 30-Plus at Kimisagara youth sports center court at 6pm.The former league champions started the new season with a 59-43 win against new league entrants Gisenyi basketball club last weekend.Cliff Owuor’s side will be favourites to win their second consecutive game against 30-Plus BC, who were walloped 105-40 by the reigning champions, Espoir in the opening game.
In todays other game, Cercle Sportif de Kigali (CSK) will host newcomers IPRC Kigali at Circle Sportif de Kigali court in Rugunga.
The league will then continue on Saturday when last season’s first
runner-up, Kigali BBC host UR-Huye at Kimisagara court, starting at 10am.
This will be followed by the meeting between IPRC Kigali and Rusizi. At 3pm United Generation Basketball (UGB) will be up against UR-CE BBC at the same venue.

27 February 2014

NIGERIA : NUGA Can't Produce National Basketball Team Players - Oliver Johnson

There is no will, desire or commitment to do the-right-things to improve our NUGA Basketball Project or to improve NUGA basketball standards necessary for producing National Basketball Team Players in Nigeria, to do our nation proud, veteran basketball coach and Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Basketball Technical Adviser, coach Oliver B. Johnson has said.
Johnson popularly called OBJ, explained that several factors have made NUGA lose its competitiveness and ability to produce talented players that can represent the country, hence, reliance on foreign based players by the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF).
"Hosting institutions cannot provide the necessary indoor Basketball Gymnasium and electronic Score-board, game-clock, shot-clock, etc. needed for basketball an international recognized indoor game. Organisers, coaches and referees are always ready to blame someone else for their own in-abilities instead of improving their own skills or learning lessons from previous NUGA Games. Similarly, organisers, coaches and referees are always ready to use their mouth (talk-show) to solve issues instead of the FIBA Rules & Regulations. Everyone is looking for the easiest way to increase income (payment) for less work which need to be done for development).
"Because NUGA Game organizers in its 24th edition 2014 can not fulfill its own Constitutional Objective number 1, "to encourage the development of Sports". To prove my point just compare the two basketball stats sheets of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Players from the 1982 NUGA Games with those of the 2014 NUGA Games of which ABU- won both NUGA Basketball Gold Medals. Considered the 'Home of NUGA basketball'; ABU has won the 'NUGA Gold Medals 13 times men and 10 times women in 24 editions. I am sure you will agree with me that something is seriously wrong with our NUGA basketball project which we should correct now.
He suggested that the way forward in developing the game is to rely on statistics as a means to select the best players, coaches, referees and organizers necessary for national and international assignments.
"In 1982 NUGA, ABU won the basketball gold medal. And from the statistics of the players, there was an average of 72 per cent recorded, while the 2014 edition which ABU also won, recorded an average of the team's performance at 45 per cent," he concluded.

RWANDA : Bahufite Eyes Zone V Dominance

After exerting authority as the dominant side in Rwanda for the past two seasons, Espoir basketball club's head coach Jean Bahufite wants to turn his team into a major force in Zone V and on the continent.
The reigning champions started their title defence in style after thumping 30-Plus 105-40 in the opening game.
"We have proved over the past two seasons that we're the best team in the country but we want to take our fine form at home beyond the borders, we must try and be more consistent in the regional championships," said the Espoir coach.
He added, "If we can manage to be consistent in terms of success in Zone V, then it would give us the confidence and belief when going into the Fiba Afro-basket club championships inThe Nyamirambo-based Espoir have won the regular season league title and Playoffs trophies in the last two seasons in a row, and also added the preseason tournament this season. However, they failed to defend the Zone V club championships crown they won in 2012 after losing to Urunani of Burundi in last year's final held in Bujumbura.

TUNISIA : National Championship - Playoff - Day 7 Results

Tunis — Results of Tunisia's national basketball Championship day-7 games played on Wednesday afternoon:
ES Sahel - AS Hammamet 79-71
ES Rades - ES Goulette 60-52
C. Africain - Ezzahra Sport 89-47
US Monastir - JS Manazeh 92-61

26 February 2014

NIGERIA : Oluyole Warriors, Police Baton to Kick-Start League Season

Oluyole Warriors of Ibadan and Police Baton of Lagos are scheduled to kick-start the 2013/ 2014 DStv Men's Basketball Premier League season on February 28.
Matches are also billed to continue across the Atlantic and Savannah conferences on March 7 in various centres in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kano, Gombe and Kwara.
Speaking in Lagos yesterday to herald the new DSTV season, President of the Nigerian Basketball Federation (NBBF), Tijani Umar, expressed his appreciation to Multichoice Nigeria Limited for the continous sponsorship of the league. "We are happy to be back for a new season which promises to be great and very entertaining.
"We thank our partners and sponsors, the DStv/Multichoice for unflinching support," observed Umar. According to the NBBF president, the newly inaugurated league committee will ensure proper registration of players. He said that the committee would also ensure that only licensed players and teams would feature in the league. "We have a code of conduct for both players and teams. We will be strict against indiscipline and will not allow unlicensed teams or players to feature in this edition," he noted.
Eight teams each in the Atlantic and the Savannah Conferences will play 14 matches each in the regular season. The first four teams in the two conferences will feature in the Final Eight in Lagos at a yet-to-be decided date.
The best two teams at the Final Eight will represent Nigeria in FIBA Africa's Continental Club Championship. Head of Marketing and Sales at Multichoice Nigeria, Martins Mabutho, also expressed the satisfaction of the pay tv company as the sponsors of Nigeria's Premier Male Basketball League.
He said that Multichoice renewed its sponsorship rights with the NBBF with vigour, adding that it remained committed to the league. Mabutho said that the renewal of the right in 2013 was to continue to develop the sport in Nigeria and the entire Africa. He noted that the company signed a three-year sponsorship for the 2013 -2016 seasons

25 February 2014

GAMBIA : New National Basketball Season Springs Into Action

The 2014 Gambia Basketball Association national league gets underway at the weekend as Kotu defeated Manjai 40-23 in both sides' opening game at the Independence Stadium in Bakau. Both teams were participating in the domestic league for the first time and it was Kotu who largely dominated the game in one sided duel.
Despite the win by a huge margin, speaking in an interview with Observer Sports after the game, Yankuba Ceesay the head coach of Kotu was impressed with his opponent's performance but unhappy with his own side's display, noting that his players were not paying attention to small details.
"I am impressed by Manjai. They are a new team in the league and they came out and played really hard in the first half but as far as my team is concerned I am not happy with their performance. We won the game by a pretty good margin as expected because we have an experienced team, so am going to expect more from them. If we want to be at the level we want to be we have to pay attention to details and I don't think we payed close attention to details," he pointed out.
For his part, the coach of Manjai, Saikouba Jabang attributed his team's failure to deliver to lack of proper training. He expressed delight on his side's performances adding that the game will serve as a learning curve.
"We lost because some of my players were engaged with their jobs, some go for classes and the lack of training and communication on the court made us lose the game. I say congratulations to Kotu for winning the game because they always train, while for us some of our players will not come for training for two weeks. This being our first game we should feel bad, but we just congratulate Kotu for winning and will endeavour to achieve more as the league progresses," he added.
In other games played over the weekend, Brikama beat the defending champions YMCA 74-67, Serrekunda West narrowly saw off Saints 49-47 while Wallidan were given victory by default after Sport House failed to show up.

ANGOLA : Women Basketball Team's Opponents Announced On March 15

The opponents of the Angolan national senior women team of basketball at the World Cup of Turkey from September 25 to October 5 will be announced on March 15 this year.
Contrary to otherwise expected, the draw for the world competition will take place on March 15 in Istambul, Turkey.
According to the director for sport of the Angolan Basketball Federation (FAB), Tony Sofrimento, the date for the draw has been changed from March 8 because the basketball world body will hold its congress on March 16.
He said FIBA wants to seize the presence of the countries attending the draw to participate in the congress, that is one day later.
Attending the World Cup are the national teams of Angola, Australia, Bielo-russia, Brazil, Canada, Cuba, China, Czech Republic, France, Japan, Korea, Mozambique, Serbia, Spain, Turkey and United States of America.

ZAMBIA : ZBA Teams Get Bob@90 Invite

THE Basketball Union of Zimbabwe (BUZ) has invited Zambian clubs to participate in the Bob@90 basketball tournament to be held in Harare next week.
The Bob@90 basketball tournament is meant to celebrate the birthday of President Robert Mugabe and the organisers have offered to meet full board and lodging costs for the guest teams.
Zambia Basketball Association (ZBA) acting general secretary Mwembe Kaona said this in a statement yesterday that tournament will be a good pre-season warm up opportunity for the local teams.
"So far two Lusaka-based clubs Matero Magic and LCC Looters have expressed keen interest in taking up the invitation while the Copperbelt clubs are yet to state their position on the invitation," he saidKaona said the ZBA and BUZ have enjoyed cordial relations over the years adding that the invitation was one of the many exchanges that take place between the two countries in terms of basketball.He further said the tournament will afford local coaches a chance to expose young players to International basketball.And tournament director, Tendai Zhakata, told The Herald in Harare that BUZ extended an invitation to Matero Magic, University of Zambia, Looters and Shells to come and add a foreign flavour at this year's event.
"I am happy to announce that we have got a response from Matero Magic, University of Zambia and Looters who are sending their men's teams while Shells will send the women. This is the first time we are having international teams in this basketball tournament," said Zhakata.
Meanwhile, ZBA vice president south Conrad Musonda has observed that poor basketball infrastructure was hampering the development of the sport in the country.The ZBA has launched an ambitious program aimed at tapping the basketball talent from all parts of the country.Musonda said the association will engage Members of Parliament (MPs) to spear head mobilisation of funds to upgrade existing basketball infrastructures in their respective constituencies.
"We have realised that one of the challenges that are hindering progress of the development of basketball on the grassroots is poor infrastructure and we know that in every constituency, there is a basketball court. So we want to ensure that MPs take a leading role in seeing to it that courts in their respective areas are improved. It only costs about K15, 000 to refurbish a single court," he said.

22 February 2014

GAMBIA : National Basketball League Kicks Off Today

The Gambia Basketball Association (GBA) national league will today, Friday 21 February 2014 get underway with Wallidan taking on Sporthouse at the Manneh Sillah Basketball Court in Banjul at 5:30pm.
Serrekunda West will on the same day and ground lock horns with Saints at 7:00pm while YMCA will face Brikama at 6:00 on the same day at Brikama.
Speaking at a media briefing on Wednesday at the American Corner, Comium Head Office ahead of the commencement of the league, Papa Njie, president of GBA, said they were able to have a team that was able to implement a successful 2013 league.
This year will be a bit different, he said, adding that he looks forward to a very successful season.
Mr Njie revealed that they are expecting an electronic scoreboard from America soon, which will be used at the Independence Stadium.
He also spoke about the importance of the general public coming out to watch basketball games for them to be able to sell their products and services and also attract sponsors.
He further spoke about the need to have an indoor basketball court to take basketball to the next level.
Teams have been divided into North and South zones to avoid playing up to the rainy season, he highlighted, saying each team will play one game out of their zone and two games within their zone.
At the end of the season they will have seeding and then have play offs, he added.
Without referees there would not be a basketball league or season in The Gambia, he stated, saying they have new referees and would not let them sit on the benches on the altar of waiting for them to mature but would rather give them the chance to officiate matches.
Coaches have to accept decisions that are made be it against or in favour of them, he remarked, saying they will protect this young referees because they need them since the Peace Corp volunteers will be leaving very soon.
He begged the coaches, players and supporters to be patient with their young referees.
He also thanked the Peace Corps, referees, committee members, the media and everyone.Abdoulie Bojang, Secretary General of the GBA, in his remarks, said they had a successful 3-on-3 basketball tournament while the late Pa Modou Sarr Memorial Basketball Tournament also went well.
The league was successful last season but also went with challenges, he stated, noting that after several years of not having basketball competitions, it is difficult for them to come in and organise a tournament.
The executive members and teams will share the hiccups, he noted, saying they have all learned lessons and hope this time it is going to be a far better season than last year.
They are always proud seeing their female referee officiate games, he said, adding that they hope to see more of her colleuges come on board to officiate not just female matches but also male matches as there is no boundary to what games she can officiate.
They will not compromise time this season, he went on, assuring that the referees and whoever is assigned as match commissioner will be on the ground on time.
He called on coaches not to hold the tournament rules to themselves but extend it to their players so they can understand what the rules are.
Everybody complained about the prizes last year but they staged 5 tournaments last year and gave each participating team a certain cash amount in addition to the trophies and medal they gave out, he remarked, promising teams that they will call up another press conference in the near future to tell them exactly what the prize monies are for this year's league so they will know what they are playing for.
The Gambia has been targeted by FIBA (Zone II) to host the zone II in the country, he said, adding that they are waiting for a formal notification, meaning they have to prepare their players.
"We are telling them (FIBA) that it is going to be at the end of the year so that we will have time to prepare ourselves and make sure we have a team that has been blending together and understanding each other, so that we can make a good presentation and represent our country well," he added.
It is something they can consider, he went on, saying the zone II is not a big zone and he thinks they can handle it as they have at least handled a three-nation tournament. "We will wait for the formal notification and pass it to the authorities for their blessing," he also noted.
Moses Njie, chairman of the Referees and Technical Committee of the GBA, said referees are arbitrators and are there to judge, adding: "You cannot have any sport or discipline without a referee."
He expressed his willingness to go to clubs to help them interpret the FIBA rules and rules governing the league to reduce controversies during the course of matches.
They do not want issues where disciplinary measures will be taken against anyone, he said, noting that coaches and players should respect referees.
Teams should be at least at the ground 30 minutes before kick-off, he added, while also calling on teams to come up with proper jerseys and numberings.
The numbers allowed by FIBA is from 4 to 15, he went on, saying that is what they would go by unless teams wanting to use different numbers write to the association to seek permission.
He also spoke about the issue of players coming to play with long finger nails, ear rings, rings and bangles, saying they will not allow such as it can cause injuries to players.
The association is doing its utmost best to equip referees despite the high cost of materials and the association's limited funds, he said, noting that "from now on referees will not officiate games without proper uniforms".
He called on teams to give support to and encourage female referees, who, he noted, are learning and should not be intimidated.

21 February 2014

LIBERIA : Funds to Resume Basketball Games in Sight

This paper has reliably learnt that the deadlock which has hit basketball activities for more than 5 months now has been broken with clear signals from the Youth and Sports Ministry that the money needed to close last year's league season and start the 2014 season is being processed for release by the Finance Ministry.
A credible source said the leadership of Rufus Anderson can now breathe a sigh of release as there have been mounting criticisms from pundits in the sporting arena that he was losing sight of effectively administering the affairs of the basketball game in the Country. Since the national league ended few months to the climax of 2013, top flight Champions LPRC and other champs in the lower divisions have yet to receive their honors commensurate with their respective achievements.
No reasons have been provided to the media by the Basketball Association's leadership but some reports in the local sporting press have also pointed fingers to the long haul federations and associations face in getting funds from their allotment in the national sports budget to finance their programs.
The long awaited official closure of the 2013 national league, our source said, will now take place at the end of February while the new league season has been scheduled to kickoff March 5, 2014 at the Sports Commission Gymnasium on Broad Street.
Through the lobbying efforts of Montserrado County Representatives Solomon George, Munah Pelham-Youngblood and other members of the House's Sports Committee, Basketball takes a giant step in terms of the envelope the Youth and Sports Ministry currently provides the 21 recognized sporting federations and associations.
Last fiscal year, their efforts saw the game monumentally climb up the ladder from US$10,000 to US$100,000. Similar amount was again allocated for the current fiscal year.

UGANDA : Kagoro Sets Sights On Falcons Renaissance

It is seven years since Falcons, the most successful club in Ugandan basketball, won the league title.
To many Falcon fans, it is a disastrous run and, to some, a nightmare. They have witnessed the team's dirty linen being exposed in public when skipper Stephen Omony revealed that the club was not honouring his financial contract.
They witnessed a mass exodus of players in 2010 and had to endure the passing of club founder John Simbwa. They have also had to see their club flirt with relegation in 2011 and missed a play-offs appearance for the only time.
For the past two seasons, however, they have finished runners-up and ahead of 2014 season that kicks off in April, Falcons have made some changes which they believe will ensure a seventh title.
On Wednesday, Friday Robert Kagoro assumed the role of new club chairman from Denis Mbidde, who stepped down last year. Kagoro is not a common figure in the sports circles but has hit the ground running as he aims to take the team a step better.
One of the first changes he has made was to appoint former player Sam Obol as new head coach after Gad Eteu switched his services to Warriors. Kagoro also announced that only two players: Jeff Omondi and Herbert Akitah have been released to City Oilers and Charging Rhinos respectively.
"We still have all our players and we are assembling a team that will shock many people next season."
He also formed a technical committee headed by Omony, which is tasked with securing sponsorship and recruitment of players. So far they have managed to re-sign small forward Emmanuel Ateng who has been away on studies in India.
"In a fortnight, we will be announcing a number of more changes in the club which are going to take many by storm," Kagoro told The Observer.
Granted, it remains to be seen whether he will live up to the billing.
Long Road to an African Rapid Reaction Force
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RWANDA : Espoir trounce APR to clinch pre-season tournament


Espoir's Lionnel Hakizimana scored 13 points against his former club on Wednesday. File
Men’s Final
Espoir 79-46 APR
Espoir proved once again that they will be the team to beat when the new season starts this weekend by winning the Men’s basketball pre-season tournament title on Wednesday evening.
Two-time reigning league champions trounced their archrivals APR 79-46 in the final at the National Paralympics Committee gymnasium court at Amahoro stadium.
The clash was initially meant for Sunday but due to heavy rain it was rescheduled for Wednesday at NPC gymnasium but the changes didn’t stop Jean Bahufite’s team to justify their place as the top team in Rwandan club basketball.
Espoir’s Burundian-born forward Christian Barutwanayo scored a game high of 23 points, Lionnel Hakizimana scored 13 points and Olivier Shyaka added 10 points, while new signing Mike Buzangu, who was handed the captain’s armband, was also restricted to just 10 points.
 APR came into the pre-season tournament aiming to try out their new signing and the club reached the final after finishing top of Pool B that also included Kigali basketball club (KBC), 30-Plus and NUR- College of Education (former KIE).
“At least now we know what went wrong, what to correct on our weakness in general. We are going to work on mistakes we detected during this tournament so that we enter the new season a stronger team” said APR’s Kenyan-born head coach Cliff Owuor.
Nyamirambo-based Espoir qualified for the final after finishing leaders of Pool A that was also made up of Cercle sportif de Kigali (CSK), league’s newcomers IPRC Kicukiro and United Generation Basketball club (UGB).

20 February 2014

ANGOLA : Petro Want to Beat Libolo

Petro de Luanda will try to beat Recreativo do Libolo in the national senior males basketball championship (BAIBasket), when they face each other on Saturday for the eight round of the referred tournament at Cidadela pavilion.
Should Petro de Luanda win the game, they will break the invincibility of Recreativo do Libolo who have won all 15 matches in the competition, thus leading the championship with 30 points.
Petro de Luanda are at the fourth place with 21 points.
Check the standings:
1. Recreativo do Libolo - 30 points
2. 1º de Agosto - 27 points
3. Universidade Lusiadas - 22 points
4. Petro de Luanda - 21 points
5. Interclube - 21 points
6. Sporting de Benguela - 21 points
7. Vila Clotilde - 19 points
8. ASA - 18 points
9. Progresso do Sambizanga - 15 points
10. Amigos de Viana - 13 points

NIGERIA : NBBF, DSTV Confirm Payment of All-Stars Prize Money

The Nigeria Basketball Federation, NBBF and DStv, sponsors of the men's Dstv Premier Basketball League have announced the payment of all prizes to players who participated in the All-Stars game decided in Lagos last September.
According to a top official of the federation, the prize money was paid into the GTB Savings Account of the All-Stars Atlantic Coach, Ogoh Odaudu while that for winners in the Savannah Conference was paid into the Unity Bank account of the coach, Sani Ahmed.
The total prize money, the federation stated, amounted to N1,886,330 out of which N1 million went to the Atlantic All-Stars team while the Savannah Conference team got N500,000. The MVP got N250,000 while the rest went into other sundry payments including transport allowances.
In a statement released yesterday, the NBBF/DStv said that the delay in the payment was regrettable but was not done on purpose, stressing that the delay was caused by a hitch in the paper works with DStv and partly by some of the players who submitted air ticket stubs that had discrepancies which needed to be sorted out.

UGANDA : Obol takes over as Falcons coach

Kampala- All is well at Falcons despite reports of player exodus and financial difficulties, club officials said yesterday. In fact, Uganda’s most successful men’s basketball club are looking forward to the upcoming season with plentiful optimism.
“This is going to be one of our best seasons,” club patron Henry Ssemanda said yesterday during a media conference called to announce management changes at the club. “We have disproved doubters in the past and we shall do the same this year.”Ssemanda announced that lawyer Friday Robert Kagoro had taken over from Dennis Mbidde, who resigned late last year, as club chairman. Following the departure of coach Gad Eteu (back to Warriors), who led the side in their losing effort to City Oilers in last year’s league finals, it was announced that Sam Obol would take over the reins.The 2003 league MVP was an assistant to Eteu last season and featured sparingly as a player. Obol is not short on experience. He won his first title as coach with female side Makerere Sparks in 2003 and had a stint in the men’s topflight with Miracle Eagles in 2009. 
“We still have a good crop of players that can play at the top level. We, however, intend to strengthen the team with a couple of signings,” senior player Stephen Omony, who will be in charge of the club’s technical affairs, said. “We’ll work with Obol and every other member of the team to ensure we perform better than last season.” 
While Omony couldn’t reveal their transfer targets, it was confirmed that Emmanuel Ateng would be rejoining them from India during mid-season.
New chairman Kagoro said they had cleared Kenyan Jeff Omondi to join City Oilers and signed off Herbert Akhita to Charging Rhino.
“Apart from those two, we haven’t cleared any other player,” Kagoro said while hinting at taking legal action against clubs claiming to have signed Tanzanian Abudullahi Ramadhan and Kenyan centre Phillip Amenyi. The two stars have been linked with moves to DMark Power and Riham Warriors.
“Other clubs are using our good name to promote their selfish interests like securing sponsorship deals,” Kagoro stated, adding that Falcons were closing in on a corporate sponsor. To prove they were still a unit, Falcons paraded Rwandan Serge Kabangu, Peter Elugant and Steven Mwesigye at the news conference.Started in 1998 by John Ssimbwa, who passed on in 2011, Falcons have won a record six national titles including a hat-trick between 2002 and 2004.
Position: Point/shooting guard but started playing the game as a centre
2000: Joined Falcons
2001: Pioneer member of Livingstone Basketball Club
2002: Returned to Falcons
2003: Started coaching Makerere Sparks and won women’s championship
Won MVP award and league title with Falcons. Was voted best basketball player by the Uganda Sports Press Association (Uspa) 
2004: Attended Olympic Solidarity coaching course at Lugogo.
Won third league title with Falcons
2005: Won Uganda’s first and only East and Central Africa national championship. He was the team captain. 
2007: Won his fourth league championship with Falcons

19 February 2014

NIGERIA : DSTV Basketball League - All-Stars Threaten Showdown Over Unpaid Prize Money

All-Stars players of the Men's DStv/Basketball League on Tuesday threatened to embark on a peaceful demonstration for the payments of their 2013 All-Star Conference final played in September in Lagos. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the final was between two All-Stars teams of the Savannah and the Atlantic Conferences which signalled the end of the season.
The Atlantic All-Stars which narrowly defeated Savannah All-Stars 104-103 at the final won N1 million prize money, while Savannah won N500,000.
The players, however, told NAN in Lagos that up till now, the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) had yet to redeem the prize money. "The federation has sidelined us and has refused to pay us our allowances," the players said. Hillary Aighokhaode of the Atlantic Conference said that it has been a waiting game for the money in which they were owed and something has to be done.
"It has been a waiting game, we have only heard promises and this is why we will embark on a peaceful demonstration before the coming jump-ball-date on Feb. 28," he said.
Obum Onyia also of the Atlantic said the situation was pathetic and that NBBF had completely forgot them. "NBBF has definitely paid the musicians that entertained them on that day and totally did not take the players seriously. "We are the players that played the game, how do we go about paying our rents and personal dues when we cannot receive what we are owed," Onyia said.
Azoma Dike who also starred for the Atlantic described the situation as unfair, adding that NBBF should consider them and pay what they owed them. "They keep promising and not fulfilling their promises, this is not fair. We are the ones that matter as regards the game, and hence, we should be treated fairly.
"I won the Most Valuable Player award and it goes with N250, 000 cash prize. "But till date, I have yet to receive the award and the allowances," he said.
Abubarkar Usman, who played in the Savannah team, said the NBBF should understand their plight as players and pay them. "We are imploring them to understand that we went through a lot to be in Lagos for the match, some of us borrowed money to be present for the match.
Timothy Kwanor of Savannah who won the Three-Point-Shot Award of N100,000 also expressed dissatisfaction and urged the NBBF to please consider them and pay them.
"The match was held since September last year, even if they are not yet ready, then they should communicate properly to us. They just left us chasing them," Kwanor said.
Contributing, Tony Thomas, an ex-player and member, Basketball Professional Association of Nigeria (BAPAN), said that the players were right to fight for their entitlements. "We had wanted to stage a lock-out sometimes last season due to many issues coming up, but the players said that they could cope with their challenges then.
"However, with this development and other issues which had been untouched for long, there is tendency for peaceful demonstration before the jump-ball-date.
"The federation needs to have the concerns of the players as their responsibilities, but in a situation when this does not happen then there is tendency to be a chaos," Thomas added. The players, however, did not disclose to NAN when they would stage the demonstration.

18 February 2014

RWANDA : APR eye pre-season tourney, Ubumwe win women’s title

Wednesday Men’s final
Espoir  vs  APR
APR Men’s basketball club is targeting to win the pre-season tournament when they face archrivals and reigning league champions Espoir in the final tomorrow at the National Paralympics Committee gymnasium at Amahoro stadium.
The final was initially supposed to be played on Sunday at Kimisagara youth sports centre but was called off due to heavy rain.
APR reached the final after taking top spot of Pool B which also had Kigali basketball club (KBC), 30-Plus, University of Rwanda- College of Education (former K.I.E).
“Espoir is the team to beat, so the final will be tough, but we are ready to battle it out and possibly win the tournament. Winning it would inspire us to do well in the new season,” APR head coach Cliff Owuor said on Monday.
Two-time reigning champions Espoir qualified for the final after dominating their Pool A opponents, among them;  United Generation basketball (UGB), Cercle sportif de Kigali (CSK) and IPRC Kicukiro.
In women’s category, the 2013 Gisembe memorial tournament winners Ubumwe won the title after winning all their round-robin matches against league champions APR (61-45), UR- College of Education (83-20) and Rwanda Allied Peace for Progress, RAPP (20-00) respectively.
The 2014 national basketball championships is set to kickoff this Saturday.

17 February 2014

ANGOLA : Interclube Win National Females Basketball Championship

The senior females basketball team of Interclube were crowned champions of the 26th national championship, after beating in the final 1º de Agosto by 70-65 in Cuito, central Bié province.
In the first half, Interclube were already winning the game by 40-27.Desportivo do Maculusso finished third, after beating Misto de Benguela by 68-54.
This is the 10th title won by Interclube, against nine trophies of 1º de Agosto.

RWANDA : Akumuntu's Humble Journey to a Basketball Icon

APR women's basketball club has dominated the local scene. The club has won the league title back-to-back since 2007. Chantal Akumuntu has been one of the team's driving forces since joining the military side in 2011 from Rusizi BBC.Akumuntu was born in 1988 to Ignace Serugunira and Euphrasie Mukangarambe in Nyamasheke, Western Province (formerly Cyangugu). She is the fourth born in a family of five (three girls and two boys).The 25-year-old, says both her parents were killed in 1993 by the former regime that later masterminded1994 Genocide against Tutsi.Akumuntu attended Mwito primary school before heading to EAV Ntendezi for her Ordinary Level studies and later Ecole Secondaire Saint Francois de Shangi, both in Nyamasheke district for the Advanced Level studies where she sat her national exams in 2008.The tall dark-skinned basketball player is a fourth year student at INILAK pursuing a bachelors degree in Information System and Management.
Early days
"During my primary school days, I didn't have any preferred sport because we only had football as the game for everyone. But when I joined EAV Ntendenzi I picked interest in playing basketball," she told Saturday Sport.Her elder brother, Jean Bosco Bahati, was instrumental in shaping her career.
"He encouraged me to play basketball from the beginning up to where I'm today." Jean Bosco Bahati is a former Rusizi basketball club player.During her first two years at EAV Ntendenzi, she was not part of the school team, but due to hard work and determination to learn and improve, she was named on both the O'level and the school girls' teams.
"I was named on the O'level and school senior team in 2005 when I was in senior three. The O'level team went on to win the Provincial inter-schools' championships," she recalls.
After arriving at ES Saint François de Shangi (based in Nyamasheke district) for her senior four, she immediately joined the school team. The following year she was made the captain and under her leadership she won the Western Province inter-schools' championships two years in a row in 2007 and 2008.From Rusizi to Kigali  In 2008, the then 19-year-old Akumuntu featured for both his school team and the former national league side Rusizi women's basketball club.That year, she helped the club finish in third position behind champions APR and National University of Rwanda (NUR).She featured for Rusizi again in the 2009 season after completing her senior six, and again helped them to finish in the third position. But she says, "Because it was time to join university in Kigali, I had to shift (to the capital), that is how I left Rusizi BBC, it was purely for academic reasons," she explains.Fresh from upcountry, Akumuntu found adapting to life in Kigali a bit challenging. She spent the 2010 season without a club. "I spent the whole of 2010 without an address (club), I had just left Rusizi for Kigali and I had no connections here, so it was difficult to get a new club immediately, but I continued to do individual training which led to my move to APR in 2011," she narrates.
Happy at APR
After joining the military side in 2011, Akumuntu was warmly welcomed by the team's senior players Jositte Kabarere and Joseline Munyaneza who helped her settle in.She considers the duo along with former teammate Bibiche Kasongo, as her mentors.
"I am grateful to Kabarere and Munyaneza. They welcomed me at the club and helped me to improve my game. They are my friends for life," she gratefully acknowledges.Since joining APR, Akumuntu has known nothing but success as the club has won both regular season league and playoff titles for the last three consecutive seasons hence cementing the club's legacy as Rwanda's most successful women basketball club.The military side has won seven consecutive league titles.According to her coach Charles Mbazumutima, Akumuntu has grown from strength to strength every other season and played a big part for the club to win the Gisembe memorial tournament titles in 2011 and 2012.
In 2013 they reached the final but lost the title to rivals Ubumwe basketball club, with Burundi's Urunani winning the men's category after beating Espoir in the final."Playing for APR also enabled me to travel to countries like Burundi and Kenya for the 2013 Fiba Africa Zone V Club Championships and the 2012 East African Inter-Cities tournament respectively," she said.The 25-year-old is not planning to quit the sport anytime soon as she still has so much to accomplish in her career, including playing at the highest level possible.She said, "It's my dream to play in international competitions and possibly win something before I retire."
The women's national team has not been very active in the last two years, which as a result has limited the chances of Rwandan players, including Akumuntu to be able to test themselves against the continent's biggest teams.
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16 February 2014

RWANDA : APR B-ball club sign five players ahead of new season

APR's Kenyan coach Cliff Owuor, right, gives hi-fives to his players before the start of Game Three of the 2012 Playoffs game against Espoir. File
APR Men’s basketball club recently signed five new players in a bid to build a strong squad to challenge archrivals and reigning champions Espoir in the forthcoming  season which kicks off next weekend.The former champions, who last won the national championship title in 2010, finished fourth out of seven last season, behind Espoir, first runners-up Kigali basketball club (KBC) and Rusizi.
Among the new signings for coach Cliff Owuor’s team, include three youngsters fresh from secondary schools namely; Emmanuel Iyakaremye and Nsengiyumva both from ETEM Gisenyi and Gaetan Rutabingwa from Saint Aloys Rwamagana.The other two are; Marc Rusharaza from Rusizi and Pascal Niyonkuru from KBC. Niyonkuru rejoins the military club after a year and half since crossing to KBC.
“We want to build competitive team that can win and the league title,” former Kenyan international, Owuor said on Friday.
The 2014 national basketball championships (Men’s and Women’s) is set to start on February 22. Espoir and APR are defending champions in the men and women categories respectively.

14 February 2014

KENYA : KBF Denies Increasing Number of Teams in League

KENYA Basketball Federation (KBF) have denied increasing the number of teams in the national league.
Joseph Amoko, the KBF fixtures secretary yesterday clarified that the number of teams in the three-tier league will remain 36 until unless team managers decide otherwise during their set for early next month. "We have not increased the number of teams in the league and I want to urge you to treat such talk as rumours until executive and stakeholders rule on the issue in their next meeting," said Amoko.

UGANDA : Ulanga to make FNL debut

KAMPALA- Basketball fans have a reason to smile tonight following the return of the Friday Night Lights (FNL) basketball tournament.
The event, which premiered in 2011, will rock at YMCA, Wandegeya for nine consecutive weeks with 10 teams battling for bragging rights and Shs400,000 every match day.
The losing team on the day will this time round also be rewarded with Shs200,000.Team Duxx, headed by the high flying rebounder Steven Mwesigye aka Duxx and Team Sudi captained by Uganda Christian University (UCU) Canons ace Sudi Ulanga will be making their debuts.Team Sudi takes on Team Malinga, captained by Warriors’ Henry Malinga, in the last match of the night.“The good thing about this competition is that it has both street basketball style and professional rules so it is more of fun and entertainment,” Ulanga said.
No more Flirsh
Team KBO8 skipper Ben Komakech, who recently signed for league champions City Oilers, said: “This event is not all about money. It also contributes towards the league since it makes fans to understand the game by taking part.” Three-time champions Team Ikong, Team Blick, Team Kasewu, Team Enabu and Team Legends will also line up in other games.Maureen Amoding will lead the only female squad Team Amoding after the elimination of Team Flirsh. Uganda’s current best player Flavia Oketcho reportedly had misunderstandings with FNL organisers over her image rights.However, flashy Team LK4, known for fielding top celebrities, will miss out this season after the captain Isaac Luggudde relocated to South Africa.The event will give a chance to ordinary fans to play with their basketball stars, politicians and meet both top and upcoming musicians who usually take the stage to entertain their fans.

RWANDA : Espoir’s Bahufite in record-breaking bid


New Espoir signing Mike Buzangu goes for a slam dunk during a practice session. He is one of the most entertaining players in the local league. Plaisir Muzogeye.
ESPOIR BASKETBALL CLUB coach Jean Bahufite has challenged his two-time reigning champions to break the club record of three national league and playoff titles in a row.The new league season is scheduled to get underway next weekend, but before that the Rwanda Basketball Federation has organised a pre-season tournament, scheduled to run from today (Friday) through Sunday. The three-day tournament will be played at Amahoro indoor stadium court and is open to all league teams.
“We have built probably the strongest Espoir team ever, which can perform on a high level. We have everything in place to make sure that we have another successful season,” Bahufite said.
The former Espoir and national team player added that the target is to win the league title again.
“It’s a record that we are determined to try and achieve, this club has done it before and I am sure we can do it again,” he added.
Espoir set the record of winning the league title three times in a row from 2003 to 2005 and that was equaled by their archrivals APR in 2006, 2007 and 2008.
According to Bahufite, the two-time reigning league and playoff champions are planning to use the pre-season tournament, to send a message to their rivals about what to expect when real business starts next weekend.
“We are determined to win this tournament, we have prepared well,” Bahufite told Times Sport on Thursday.
The Nyamirambo-based club has won the league and playoffs titles for the past two consecutive seasons and Bahufite is keen to see his team continue dominance in the new season.Meanwhile, Espoir has signed two teenagers Jean Philip Kubana Tubane and Edmond Mujyarugamba from St Alloys Rwamagana and Green Hills Academy respectively. 
Last week, the club bolstered their squad with the acquisition of one of the best players in league Mike Buzangu from rivals Kigali Basketball Club.
Contact email: peter.kamasa[at]newtimes.co.rw

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