Tiro Serumola, the Manager of Flames basketball team in Francistown, has lamented the loss of basketball talent in Botswana, which he said is due to limited growth caused by lack of funds.
He said that Flames has been in existence since 2005, but its growth is stagnant due to lack of funds. Flames is currently on a mission to nurture basketball passion in Francistown and the northern region, but their efforts are reversed by lack of funds.
“The team has been performing very well since its establishment, maintaining position 5 among all the 11 teams in the country. If only sponsors could pump in more funds the team would perform even much better,” he said.
Serumola said that this year they aim to target primary schools in Francistown.
Flames sometimes miss important games because they do not have resources to cover travel and accommodation costs.
Serumola also said they have been working with charity organizations like SOS where they expose children to basketball.
“The aim is to expose basketball to the people, including the disadvantaged members of our community,” he said.
In contrast, institutional teams like BDF and Police have more than adequate resources.
Flames is yet to play its first game this year against the Falcons in the opening game of this year’s league in Selibe Phikwe.
The only sponsor that has assisted flames is Mater-Spei College, and they have only availed their school basketball court to the team.
“As a result, most of the funds that we use are from our own pockets” said Serumola.
He urged Botswana Basketball Association management to notify the Botswana National Sports Council of the resource challenges that most basketball teams are faced with.
Serumola stressed that basketball has the potential to put Botswana on the international map because talent is abundant in the country. He added that it can also help the youth refrain from the ills of the society such as drugs, alcohol and crime.
“We are currently engaged in training 14 children in Mater-Spei College and 10 in Donga, but the challenge remains lack of resources,” he said.
Flames is registered on Facebook, and currently has over 200 fans.