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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

LBA to re-introduce developmental league for under-21 players

An under-21 national league is in the pipeline...

Newly-elected Lesotho Basketball Association (LBA) director of development Faku Masupha says the LBA will re-introduce a developmental league for under-21 players this year.

Although Masupha didn’t give an exact date, the changes will probably come into effect when the 2018/19 campaign starts in August because the current season is already well underway.

The development league has not been played since 2015.

Masupha, who founded the successful Bokamoso Basketball Development Program in 2012, said the competition’s absence has affected the standard of the LBA’s top league, the National Basketball League (NBL) A-League. He said discussions are underway to introduce rules that will require all NBL clubs to have development league teams.

The grand vision, he added, includes a national league system beginning at primary schools.

“A developmental pipeline has different stages of which a player has to pass through before reaching the elite level,” Masupha explained.

“If things are go well we have to start from the cadet league targeting primary schools pupils and children at the community level, followed by a (high) school league, developmental league, promotional league and then the elite league.”

He continued: “At the moment we only have the high school league and the elite national league. We need to improve our players’ transition from grassroots level to professional level.”

Masupha said the developmental league will help to prepare young players for the pressures of the NBL A-League. 

“The absence of a developmental league kills a lot of local talent because some players jump straight to the senior league once they leave high school league, so what happens is they arrive in the league immature and are unable stand the pressure against old, experienced players. Because of that they end up losing interest in the sport,” he said.

Masupha said Lesotho needs to take youth development more seriously and that includes companies having a more impactful involvement in supporting development programmes.

“Development is the anchor position of the LBA, it is the anchor to any sporting code but requires proper planning that is properly monitored,” he said.

“For example, I planned to have Bokamoso Basketball Development programme back in 2011, I groomed most of the kids from the ages of 13 and 14 but we are only seeing results now,” Masupha added.

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