Coach Olebile Kepaletswe from the Botswana team is confident that Botswana will win a medal during the Under 18 International Basketball Foundation (IBF) Young Lions Cup finals to be held in Gaborone, Botswana this coming weekend.Nine countries of Burundi, Mauritius, Comoros, Seychelles, Lesotho, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Swaziland have converged in Botswana for the second edition of the annual cup competition.
Kepaletswe assured this paper that the Botswana Team will come to the finals hungry for success and considering their form, a medal is within reach.Botswana finished on fourth position last year and Kepaletswe assured that they have been working on their weaknesses.
“Everything was all new for the team last year but they managed fourth position out of the 16 that participated. There is no telling what will happen this time around,” he said.Kepaletswe who is in charge of the girls’ team said that they have been busy at work together with colleague, Tiro Serumula who was managing the boys team, to bring the team to shape.
In his camp, Keplaetswe is sure that when things get a little bit tough, he can always pin his hopes on the likes of Lolo Ramatebele to be the main brains of the team but also not forgetting the hard hitting Winnie Ponoesele to dip her head in regardless of the circumstances.
He is confident the team has vast experience in the game saying he has been working with the girls for the past five years. However, he will have to rely on the team to execute his instructions well, noting that in this particular competition, they are not allowed to coach during the games.
The Botswana team will go into the tournament with a full squad free from injuries. Zimbabwe is the defending champions on both the girls and boys side. “If we beat Zimbabwe I will know for sure that we are really out for blood although Burundi has the height to their advantage and might also come out as a threat to the team,” he said.
BBA President Boineelo Hardy, when delivering her remarks at the event, said she was particularly excited about the legacy to be left behind by the hosting of the games. “We will have 2 shot clocks, 144 balls for 3x3 and not forgetting the workshop to train local referees,” she said.
The biggest benefit will undoubtedly be the structures that have been left in place, enabling the association to conduct games in six regions of the country. This means that for a change and first for basketball, structures that spread across the country will enable access to the games to more Batswana. During the inaugural edition last year, IBF delivered a 3x3 play mat and 3x3 balls. The equipment will be used during the second edition of the games.