Moyo hopes hosting BAL qualifiers will help Botswana's basketball step out of the shadows
GABORONE (Botswana) - As Dolphins Basketball Club coach Trynos Moyo prepares his club for the Road To BAL 2024 (18-22 October), he hopes hosting the qualifiers will lift the profile of Basketball in Botswana.
While the Southern African country hosted a continental qualifier in 2017, which also saw the Dolphins participate, Moyo told FIBA.basketball playing in the new qualifying format could have better spin-offs for the local game.
"For Botswana, it's a good thing. Basketball is in the shadow of soccer and athletics, which is doing well in the country. So, hosting an event backed by FIBA and the NBA is huge for us and basketball fans in Botswana," said Moyo, who led the Dolphins in the 2019 BAL qualifiers.
"Also, potential sponsors will have the opportunity to see how big these qualifiers are."
The four-time local league champions have a golden opportunity to help Botswana realise its basketball potential, but for that to happen, they must deliver on the court.
With a few weeks to go before Group D Road To BAL 2024 qualifiers begin, Moyo says his players need to shake off the rust as most of the team has been inactive after the league ended in May.
"We are in our off-season. So it's a bit of a challenge as we need to reassemble the team and get ourselves in shape. The guys know what is at stake, as everybody wants to play in the BAL. It is one of the biggest platforms for them to showcase their talent," said Moyo who added: "You don't get this kind of opportunity everyday the players understand what they are preparing for. So there is no need for me push them to be enthusiastic."
The Dolphins coach will depend on players shooting guard Kesaobaka Ndawanyana (29) and centre Bushe Ramabu (25). Both played in the inaugural regional qualifiers held in South Africa in 2019, where the Dolphins won one game.
Big man Ramabu was also one of the statistics leaders for the team that year with 15.4 points per game, 13.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game.
"They are part of the seven who played in 2019. We are that they are back and also more experienced. When we played in the 2019 qualifiers, we probably had one of the youngest teams," said Moyo. "The players you mentioned have been there before and I expect them to lead from the front. We also want improve from our performance of four years ago."
Finally, Moyo reflected on leading the Dolphins to their second BAL qualifiers.
"It is a blessing to go and to compete against some of the best teams and coaches in our zone. It's a big opportunity, which I do not take lightly. I also appreciate that we are going to our second qualifiers and we are hosting. We are no longer newbies on this stage. We are at home, so we want to go out there and compete," concluded Moyo.
Dolphins (Botswana), Brave Hearts (Malawi), UNAM Wolves (Namibia), Munali Suns (Zambia) and JBC (Zimbabwe).
October 18: Munali Suns vs Dolphins; Unam Wolves vs Bravehearts
October 19: Dolphins vs JBC; Munali Suns vs Braveheart
October 20: Braveheart vs JBC; Unam Wolves vs Munali Suns
October 21: Dolphins vs Unam Wolves; JBC vs Munali Suns
October 22: Braveheart vs Dolphins; JBC vs Unam Wolves
The best-placed team at the end of the Group play qualifies automatically to the Elite 16.