The Namibian Basketball Federation (NBF), with the aid of the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC), recently sent a six-person delegation to Gaborone, Botswana, for the annual U18 3x3 IBF Young Lions Cup Tournament.
The team of six basketball players left for Gaborone on 26 November to participate in the tournament which focuses on unifying players from different countries, life skills and problem solving.
Making up the delegation were Noah Hilengwa, Ngatjikare Tjitamunisa, Javier Nghishilenapo and Pedro Pasile. Also wearing national colours were Petrina Aron, International Basketball Federation (IBF) beneficiary, and Mantius Amukosh, the first-ever 3x3 Unite Youth Leader.
The tournament ran under the theme 3x3 Unite.
Aron, who as a guest speaker shared her life story during the tournament, said she was very grateful for the opportunity to share her experiences and how sport has been a major life-changing tool.
“I am glad that I was able to talk about my past with youths from so many different parts of our continent. I can relate with all of them, despite our various differences,” she said.
Amukoshi said: “Being the first-ever 3x3 Youth Leader to represent the country is such an honour. It was a wonderful learning experience, I cannot wait to implement the skills learned during the workshop with our basketball community.”
Pasile scooped the Male IBF Leadership Award, thanks to his view that the girl child should be represented more in sports.
“I believe that we need to keep pushing girls to join in sports and give them the same respect in the field of play, just as we do with male athletes,” he said.
This year's tournament took a different approach, with a mixed-team set-up. Players from the various countries had to bond with new teammates from other cultures and overcome language barriers.
Hilengwa was in the winning team and brought back a gold medal for Team Namibia.
He said he was very excited to be part of this new approach at unifying players through sport. Also that his team worked well together, despite their different backgrounds. His teammates were from Madagascar, Lesotho and Zimbabwe.
Eleven African countries participated in the tournament.