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The future lies in a new Paraguayan basketball generation
ASUNCION (Paraguay) — The Paraguayan Basketball Confederation (CPB, for its Spanish acronym), motivates young players of the South American nation to create teams to acquire more tournament experience and continue working to grow Paraguayan basketball.
Now it’s time for more young players: with the U14 Men's National South American Championship on the horizon, the national team of this category built the roster that traveled to Brazil to play their first international commitment.
The team led by coaches César Rallo and Manuel Ríos flew to Goiania, the capital of the state of Goias, in Brazil, where the continental tournament will take place from July 2 to 6.
Paraguay will be one of the eight participant countries, conforming Group B with Brazil, Chile, and Bolivia. Meanwhile, Group A will feature the national teams of Argentina, Ecuador, Colombia, and Uruguay. After a regular three-game phase, the top two of each zone will move on to the semi-finals on Friday, July 5.
The national team that prepared in the Paraguayan capital, Asunción, features 12 boys, but there were many more participating in the selection process. This is a diverse team; many of the players come from other parts of the country, have a very good height, and some others are from Asunción. The boys are mainly from Colonias Unidas, in the Southern part of the country, where there are many Russian and Ukrainian immigrants; and from Alto Paraná, Coronel Oviedo and Pilar, the last of which is one of the cities with the greatest basketball formation in Paraguay.
“We're responsible for this national team. U14 is a category that begins the process at a national team level and we always make a great effort for it to get it going and so that everyone gets to know each other. Most players come from out of the capital and they worked for a month with two coaches that had already participated in previous processes. It’s an initial category, it's a process for the future,” said to FIBA.basketball CPB Vice-President Alejandro Morassi.
The CPB, affiliated to FIBA in 1947, is working to bolster the growth of Mini Basketball and formative categories — the base and the future of each national team. More than 4,500 children play in basketball tournaments in Paraguay and the establishment of a U13 Tournament this year was also one of the pillars of the composition of this U14 category team.
“We worked with the minor leagues and we set our sights on gathering a significant pool of players. We're visiting the federations in the interior to incentivize and motivate and increase the number of kids that play basketball. We wish to create the conditions to participate in the South American and other tournaments that are regularly celebrated and have an excellent level,” stated Morassi.
He then added, “We gave the uniforms to the players, we had dinner together, and we saw a group that was very united, and exclusively created for this South American Tournament. This is the jumpstart of a generation. Hopefully, it builds up, even more, it continues together and achieves the results we hoped for.”
The CPB’s intention is to arrive at the cities in the interior of the country and unify concepts in order to properly build their national teams.
“Work must be nonstop, and we hope to build a staff of coaches for a permanent team so that they can scout players and accompany the whole process. In the future, we should see results, but we're aware that it's not an easy task. Other countries are doing so and are being very successful, but we must try to reach a significant place in the South American ranking to motivate other boys and show them that basketball, and sports in general, are all about sharing, creating friends, and having a healthy life. Like this, we are paving the way for the work that we believe is the road that we must take,” assured the President elected this year.
For four years now Paraguay has been attending international tournaments organized by the South American Basketball Confederation (CONSUBASQUET). For the CPB, this is the optimal way to measure their level against the neighboring countries and see how they stand internationally. “We face some limitations,” concluded the president, “but we hope to improve.”