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Bolivian basketball's future is in its children
Basketball in Bolivia commenced this year with many projects. The Bolivian Basketball Federation (FBB, for its Spanish acronym) announced by the end of 2018 the introduction of a youth league that is now a fact. The Bolivian Youth League (LIBOMENOR) is beginning to take shape, and is scheduled to begin on April 4 or 5, as soon as the game calendar is determined.
Marco Arze and Gustavo Carmona, FBB President and Vice-President, are making this project a reality during their term, with the objective of bolstering the youth leagues to strengthen the adult league and, in the future, the national team. “The creation of LIBOMENOR is a fact and the first categories that will begin are the U-13. This is one of the greatest challenges this Federation faces to develop basketball this 2019,” assured Carmona in FIBA.com.
The tournament will be organized according to the Final Four system, where each one of the teams in their group of four will play as locals to qualify as the best two of their series to a playoffs final phase, where the winner will be the best of three games. The winners will then aim for the first title of the LIBOMENOR, which will also be decided according to the best team in three games.
“The Federation is aiming for younger players. We believe that we must improve the technical level with a better preparation process. We know that the context of national or regional representative teams is complex, which is why we host several tournaments. This is the reason we are focusing on this U-13 league for girls and boys, to allow clubs —and with the support of the parents— have their players travel from a city to another and to, aside from living an enriching experience, compete just as our senior league does,” assured president Marco Arze.
This edition jumpstarts for the 2018 class of the U-13 category. This means that girls and boys may participate if their 13th birthday is anywhere from January 1 to December 31 of 2019 (born in 2005). Only two reinforcements are allowed, be them from their association or nationals with a temporary permit, and who also comply with the age requirement.
“We're happy. The idea is to begin this year and as time goes by we continue to evolve, at 15, at 17 (years of age), according to the interest available. It's a gratifying experience because we’ll be preparing the players better in this sport, which will allow us to constitute sports clubs with members that may have the resources to finance the travels. We began this project with the youth and we hope that in a short amount of time we can receive positive outcomes in the technical aspect. LIBOMENOR will be a great vehicle to develop the youth that tomorrow will be the pool for the adult (leagues),” assured the FBB’s president.
Meanwhile, the Vice-President added: “The idea is born out of the success of Libobasquet (the Bolivian Basketball League), which is on its way to professionalize its senior leagues, and on the need of creating sports pools with precisely the same objective,” and he assured: “It's an initial category, but we strive to grow every year. For 2020 these guys will go on to U-15 and a year later to U-17, and then to U-19. Eventually they’ll get to the senior leagues with all the formation, fundamentals, the physicality of it, and experience of playing both as locals and as visitors.”
The competition is designed bearing in mind the children that will participate in them and is tied to great projects in the future. It is expected that in a period of four our five years, the participation of the Libobasquet champion club will also include the Liga Sudamericana and that also, the senior national team will have options with the technical conditions necessary to dispute a future qualification to the World Cup.
“The expectations are huge, especially because of the great interest of the parents, who are the ones who foster basketball in these categories in our country and around the world. They organize fundraising activities to cover the costs of travel and lodging when the teams play away from home.It's a great change for our basketball. We expect to see mid and long-term results,” said Carmona to FIBA.com.
The future of the national teams is in hands of the girls and boys; and starting to work in young ages guarantees good results or, at least, tries to achieve them. With clear objectives that are being grasped, the FBB sets its hopes in this league and its actual competitions, to try to achieve the dreams that are instilled to the youth.