Spartans ended Troopers dominance in basketball with a narrow 70-69 win to clinch the pre-season basketball tournament at the Sir Seretse Khama Barracks (SSKB) courts in Mogoditshane on Sunday. Troopers have been the dominant force in local basketball taking everything on offer in recent years. They are the defending league champions, a title that they have almost made their own. Eleven mens teams and three women sides took part in the weekend tournament. The mens teams were divided into four groups, played on a round robin format, with the group winners qualifying for the semi-finals.
In the womens section, the top two teams contested the final. Rain, which fell in most parts of Gaborone on Saturday afternoon, caused the tournament to be halted before the semi finals as outdoor facilities were used. On Sunday, Troopers shot down the Falcons 45-30 to book a place in the finals while Spartans beat BDF V 58-40 to set up a meeting with the Troopers. The final buzzer saw Spartans emerge as champions after they shocked Troopers by a single point. Spartans hard work and never-say-die attitude won them the game. Police erased Relics 36-34 in the womens finals.
In an interview with Mmegi Sport, Botswana Basketball Association (BBA) public relations officer (PRO) Thuli Jankey said they always organise the pre- season tournament to prepare players for the upcoming season. Jankey said even though they could not find a sponsor for the tournament, they decided to play for the benefit of the players. He added that the league would start next weekend without a sponsor. We are still struggling to find sponsors for our league, but we are trying our level best at the moment, Jankey said.
He said it was difficult for them to convince sponsors as basketball is not getting enough media coverage and attracting spectators. The league has been running for a long time without a sponsor and some teams forfeit points for any un-played fixture as a result. Jankey said they were working hard on grassroots development to ensure sustained sports growth as well as attract more women to basketball. There are currently fewer womens clubs in the country, which was not the case before.