By Twimepoki Mangani
Lilongwe, Mana: Basketball Association of Malawi (BASMAL) expect to have the National team up and running this year after 12 years of absence.
Speaking with Malawi News Agency (MANA) on Thursday Technical Director for BASMAL Hope Chisamanga said that they expect to have the National team assembled this year and in turn play friendlies.
“We want to bring back the National team between June and October thereafter we hope to have games with our counter parts from Zambia, Zimbabwe and Tanzania.
“The main issue has been funding, it is a song that we are always going to sing, however we need to find initiatives that can make the National team participate, “said Chisamanga.
Chisamanga further said that the team is eligible to participate in tournaments that are organised by FIBA but have been forced to forgo the games all along.
“International Basketball Federation (FIBA) has a calendar of events which we follow, such as the zone 6 games and the African Basketball Championship qualifiers, which are used for the World Cup participation,” Chisamanga added.
Meanwhile Chairman for Northern Zone Basketball (NOZOBAL) Timbo Vilanji said that the National team can be revived and even backed up players from NOZOBAL to make the squad.
“It is possible to revive the team but it needs to be given time, and since talent is now with the younger ones, they need to be in a position to learn from the seniors, I do not think we are looking for immediate results.
“We have talent in NOZABAL, the only thing they are lacking is exposure, but if they can compete with other countries that should make a huge impact on them,” Vilanji said.
Player for Brave Hearts Basketball club Patrick Chirwa said that the absence of the National team discourages upcoming players.
“It removes inspiration for a younger player they play without a goal and It doesn’t give a good picture for the federation of basketball world wide when the country doesn’t play.
“I played for the under 20 team in 2014; It feels good to play for the nation, so bringing it back is a motivation to us all; the only disadvantage we have is the height but I believe we can compete on any level,” said Chirwa.
The Men’s Senior National team joined FIBA in 1988 and last played a professional match in 2010.