By Oratile Otsetswe
Team Botswana managed to meet its target of a podium finish but fell short of scooping gold at the International Basketball Federation (IBF) 3 on 3 Young Lions Cup tournament.
The IBF basketball development tournament, which is on its second edition, was staged at the Molapo Crossing Stanbic Piazza in Gaborone this past weekend.
Among countries that participated in the tournament alongside Botswana were Burundi, Mauritius, Comoros, Seychelles, Lesotho, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia and The kingdom of Eswatini.
After being knocked out in the semifinals of the same tournament which they also hosted last year, Botswana were looking for an improved showing and a podium finish this year and they achieved the mandate.
They however finished second and failed to dislodge defending champions Zimbabwe who once again prevailed and took home gold. Commenting on his team’s performance, Botswana under 16 Basketball National Team coach Trynos Moyo said the team performed better in the second edition than last year.
He however said Botswana should have won Gold in both the boys’ and girls’ sections in the tournament because they had the best players in the country as the process to select them was fair and thorough.
“Teams were stronger and more competitive than last year. The difference that separated Botswana and Zimbabwe was experience between the two. Both the Zimbabwean boys’ and girls’ players are playing in their national league and that explains why they had a more composed and aggressive approach towards the games,” Moyo explained.
Despite their good showing in the tournament, Botswana had no individual awards to show from the tournament. Zimbabwean players Godfrey Tsomondo and Tadiwa Mabika walked away with the award of the Most Valuable Player (MVP) under both the boys and girls categories respectively.
Overall Shoot out winner was won by Landra Nduwamahoro from Burundi. Anthony Likai of Zambia won the dunk winner and the IBF Leadership Award went to Namibian player Petrina Aron.
Meanwhile, the national coordinator of the3 on 3 Lions Cup Shalosh Matsetse said he was happy with the way the tournament turned out.
“The event went on smoothly because all of the tournament‘s coordinators were part of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) and were taught the terms of management and running of the games.”
He added that a workshop for the officials was held as well prior the event to endorse the new IBF rules for the 3 on 3 tournaments. The workshop was attended by 12 local referees and eight international referees from different countries.
Matsetse said the players also took part in the Youth Leadership workshop to groom them as professional athletes.