UP IN SMOKE: FLAMES BASKETBALL TEAM

Despite lack of sponsorship the northern Basketball league is on as teams 
continue the struggle for funding.
Flames basketball team coach Marvin Griffith explained the problem when he told Voice Sport that they use 
their own money for travel costs, accommodation and to buy kit, and like most teams only play their games at month end
 when they have money. He said they
 treat every game as a showcase of their talents so that individuals and companies can see their potential 
and help with sponsorship.
Griffith said the other problem they have is lack of grounds for training. Since 2005 they have been using Mater Spei grounds, which is not ideal as it leaves them short of time as they wait for the students to finish.
However despite the difficulties he added: “It is not all about money. Basketball is also fun and promotes healthy living.”
In their effort to promote grass roots development, his team train youngsters on Saturday and holidays.
Meanwhile Botswana Basketball Association Public Relations Officer Thuli Jankey, said his association were to build courts behind the Lekedi Football Centre, but that construction was stalled by complications in the demarcation of plots.
“We had hired a contractor, but had to cancel our deal to wait for the demarcation of the plot. We have finally got our plot, but now the contractor is asking for more money due to the increase in VAT. We have since re-applied for a top-up from BNSC,” he said.
Jankey shared Griffith’s views concerning lack of funds for the sport, something he said made life difficult for clubs.
“We had hoped to get a sponsor before the beginning of the league, but everybody we approached turned us down,” he said.
Jankey added that it became difficult for most clubs when they have to honour away matches. “For teams likes Flames and Cadets it is always difficult. The four army teams seem to be the only ones coping well as they have the support of the army,” he said.
However Jankey said the imbalances between community based and institutional teams has not in anyway influenced the outcome of results.
“Troopers and Spartans have dominated the league for years despite being community based teams,” he said.
On an optimistic note he added that despite the sponsorship setbacks the level of competition continued to improve with each season.
“We have witnessed a change in the competitive nature of some clubs. The game also continues to attract a lot of youngsters that is good for development and sustainability,” he said.
In the weekend action Flames takes on Troopers, Spartans and Falcons this Saturday. Coach Griffith’s 
hopes have been boosted by the inclusion of forward Mike Krause, a Peace Corps volunteer from the USA, whose experience will help his team. The other player to entertain will be point guard Chino Chinouya, who has recorded the highest score in the team with 21 points, small forward Tiro Serumola, point guard Mmoloki Segaetsho and Brian Mwanza, a winger.

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