Botswana became part of history at the opening of the first inaugural Basketball Africa League (BAL) season at Kigali, Rwanda.
Local basketball clubs did not qualify for the competition, but Botswana Basketball Association (BBA) referee Dorothy Okatch has been assigned to officiate at the BAL event.
Okatch will officiate in the seasontogether with other International Basketball Association (FIBA) Africa’s top-rated referees, as a cohort of 19 men and three women from 16 countries.
Reached for comment Okatch said, the referees will be having group games till the 24th. Therefore, the aim is for her to officiate in at least two games before returning back to Botswana.
“We are currently two females left at the competition. I am so overwhelmed by this and see it as a testament that hard work pays off. Botswana is now part of this history; the inaugural BAL and we are here,” Okatch noted.
The BAL is a collaboration between NBA and FIBA to host the debut of NBA series outside the United States of America.
She observed that, “Being nominated for these games has been a historical landmark not only for me, but for all female referees. This is possibly the first time in Africa that a Senior Male Championship has had female referees in it”.
12 African teams, Algeria, Angola, Cameroon, Egypt, Madagascar, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal and Tunisia will be the first to participate at the historic event.
According to the league fixtures, BAL will feature 26games. The African teams are divided into three groups of four teams. As it will be, the top eight teams from the group stage will qualify for the playoffs, all three rounds will be a single elimination.
The season begun on May 16th and the champions will be crowned on May 30,2021.