Basketball as sport was popular among youngsters of the yester years, had proper calendar of events which inspired most youth to start loving, following and playing it right away from the tender age.
The month of August, Blantyre Youth Centre was beehive of attraction to all basketball lovers as it hosted annual All Star games.
This will take us back to the days where teams like Crazy Warriors, Falcons, Polybocats, Lakers, Eagles, Pirates, Civobacks and ABC Lions just to mention a few.
The teams produced the likes of Motto Khama, Zitto Phillips, Keller Zimpita, Albert Junior, Madano Tepeteya, Simon Gama, Richard Banda, Raymond Banda, Dennis Ngosi, Gift Phoya and Yamiko Samu.
Mkulumadzi league brought Secondary School teams like BSS, HHI, Chichiri, St Patrick, Chiradzulu, Lunzu and Zingwangwa on the fold and players like Henry Gomani, Junior Odala, Stort Chirwa, Wellos Chikwakwiya, Chawezi Munthali, Leonard Malemia and Talumba Chilinkhwambe
Former basketball star and three pointer, Henry Gomani said basketballers of yester years had great passion for the game than nowadays.
He recalled that most players started playing the game from primary schools through to the Secondary until College level.
Just like football was where there was Mayor’s trophy and consolidated textile in primary and MBS trophy in secondary schools and the country was able to produce the cream of the sport using such structures, Gomani emphasized.
He suggested that Basmal need to invest much more from the grassroots level and conducting more coaching clinics in all schools and colleges.
Former St Patrick’s Secondary School Basketball Star pointed out that government and private sector need to join hands to mobilize the resources in order to revive the sport.
He called on Basmal to have a clear vision and develop a strategic plan which would take them in the next five years.
Basmal should strive to secure sport scholarships in order to enable the players get an international exposure in Europe or America. In the past the country managed to do this to George Jana now working at national Sports Council, Gomani advised.
Basketball Association of Malawi (BASMAL) President, Hamlet Kamtengeni said so far his association is operating in three zones namely South- Sozobal, Centre- Cezobal and North- Nozobal.
He said the east zone is responding favourably and very soon we would officially launch it for our operations.
Each zone has a chairperson and zonal leadership report to Basmal Executive through Basmal General Secretary, Kamtengeni explained.
Basmal President added each zone uses a calendar as guide by the mother body so that there should be uniformity of activities at both zonal and national levels.
He said zones play independent league and top three from the zones plus top two qualify for the national finals.
We still have the All-Stars but for the past year we did not have sponsors so the event didn’t take place due to luck of sponsorship, Kamtengeni observed.
Basmal President said secondary school basketball is yet to be re-introduced but zones have youth basketball teams where they play in league B which includes High Schools and Independent teams.
He outlined that Zones play in league A and since 2015 the strategy has been to develop ladies and youth basketball.
Ladies basketball has been very active and the standards have improved tremendously. This is evidenced by individual team’s participation in various SADC tournaments where ladies teams like Bravehearts and Lady Dynamite have come back with medals, Kamtengeni revealed.
He added that, We have registered some positives since 2015 when we took office and we have managed to secure sponsorship with GY Import and Export leaders in the sale of furniture for offices.
We introduced King and queen of court played annually and compromise top teams that have done well in their respective zones. We have All- Stars re-introduced with the help of the Reserves bank to bank roll the King and queen of court with GY Import and export. Kamtengeni explained.
He said ladies National ladies champions is played annually and the second international tourney to be held in march, 2018 in Lilongwe for individual teams.
In order to encourage youth basketball, Basmal has introduced the K30 million National bank sponsorship and teams play on invitational tournaments within the region.
BASMAL is constructing Lilongwe basketball court worth K360 million and the project of constructing basketball courts across the country started in 2016 with the support from Dawn Staley Initiative of the United States of America.
The whole project started in August 2016 when we built a court at Zingwangwa Youth Centre in Blantyre. The court was commissioned and is already in use and now construction is underway for the Lilongwe court which is situated at Kamuzu Institute of Sports, GS for Basmal, Edgar Ng’ong’ola confirmed.
He said his association has completed its first milestone by building basketball courts in Lilongwe and Blantyre while plans to construct more basketball courts across the country.
BASMAL has plans to construct at least two basketball courts in each district of the country making it a total of 56 courts. The project will require a lot of investments and we are optimistic that we will achieve our goals as we have done with Lilongwe and Blantyre, the General Secretary said.
He added that the association is very grateful to have the Vice President, Saulos Chilima as one of their partner who is passionate about the sport.
Chilima is not only passionate but he is a brilliant player and a role model to the youngsters. His presence to basketball tournaments has gone a long way in promoting the sport in the country, Ng’ong’ola viewed.
Basmal has a huge task to produce a national team which will equally compete at regional and global level as it is used to be in the past decades.
Source: Malawi News Agency MANA