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Articles

Continental Basketball Qualifiers Shift to Maputo - May 31, 2005


POSTED BY:
EUROBASKET CENTER
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The Zone VI African basketball championship qualifying games scheduled for next week have been shifted from South Africa to Maputo, Mozambique. The manager of the Botswana team to the qualifiers, Oagile Mahule said they received notification of the shift last week Wednesday.
"South Africa notified us last week that they would not be able to host the games but they have not given reasons. Fortunately Mozambique came to the rescue and I do not know what actually would have happened had Mozambique not stepped in. May be we would not have participated despite the resources we used for training."

The games will be held in Maputo from May 30 to June 4. Botswana will sweat it out against South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Zambia in a round robin format. Two top countries progress to the second round.
The Botswana team under the tutelage of Cuban expert, Franklin Standard Johnson assisted by Eliot Ngoma is said to be responding well to training. "Franklin started intensive training with this team last week and I can tell you these players are learning something new everyday. When he took over last week, he concentrated mainly on the physical training but this week due to time constraints, he is more into tactics," said Ngoma.
He expressed confidence that the team will do well at the games because of the new tactics Johnson has brought. He said previously, the team used to play without a system but the coach has changed this.
"Obviously basketball is a new sport in this country and a lot still needs to be done. We used to play just for the love of the game, but now we are slowly moving from that into a competitive world. We will now be using both an attacking and defensive system. Defence will be mainly used when playing a stronger team and an attacking one will be against the team equalling or less than our strength. You can see for yourself that these players are training hard and raring to go and I can tell you we are going to fight like wounded lions," Ngoma said.
The team trains twice a day, in the mornings and late afternoons. Ngoma said that the countries that normally give them a hard time are regional powerhouses South Africa, Mozambique and Angola. African champions Angola will not take part in the qualifiers as they have automatic entry.

The Botswana team has 14 players from which a final 12 will be chosen. Ngoma emphasised that the team selection is based on merit and not previous performance. Botswana will be participating in the qualifiers for the second time after a maiden appearance in 2003.
Meanwhile, three basketball players from the United States of America will be in Botswana on May 30. The three are Courtland Freeman, RaMell Ross (both from Georgetown University) and Alvin Green from Coastal Carolina University. They will be under the US State Department's Culture Connect Cultural Envoy Programme. While in Botswana, they will address young people at three senior secondary schools about basketball and general healthy living. They will also hold basketball clinics with the Botswana Basketball Association.(Tshepho Bogosing)

  



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