Rwanda Basketball Federation-FERWABA has welcomed the new FIBA calendar and competition system.
FERWABA secretary general, Richard Mutabazi, said the new FIBA system will accord fans an opportunity to watch as many games as possible.
“FIBA will technically empower us through capacity building, besides training us on market surveys and financial aspects. It is a challenge since change is not easy at first, but with time everything will be fine, and as a federation, we shall benefit, all we need is determination and commitment from all stakeholders,” he told Saturday Sport.
He further explained that the new competition system presents an opportunity for basketball in Rwanda to develop and grow since games will be played home and away.
Along with presenting the opportunity to play in front of your home fans, this is also an opportunity for FERWABA to harness the various marketing opportunities.
Ali Boukari the FIBA communications Coordinator for Africa attended the just concluded 2016 FIBA-Africa U18 Men’s Championship, held in Kigali, and trained FERWABA officials about the new system and calendar.
Boukari explained that: “Starting in November 2017, FIBA will introduce the new system where, all continents will have teams go through two rounds of home and away qualifiers to book spots at the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup.”
Lamine Badiane, the FIBA head of Communications also noted, “The move was designed to give fans more chances to see their favorite players while also providing domestic sponsors more opportunities to promote the teams, federations and players.”
The purpose is to increase exposure of national federations by creating four national teams’ windows throughout the year to qualify for major basketball events, similar to the process in football.
The other benefit is to help FERWABA to learn how to organize events, to co-ordinate and host games, as well as profit from the commercial rights for the games.
According to FIBA, the new system will bring additional basketball exposure with more than 140 countries taking part, which means a total of 1,250 regular and competition games worldwide.
While figuring out how to increase the relevance of the World Cup, one of the main goals in this whole new system besides bringing the game to the fans, is that FIBA also decided against weakening the status of the Olympics.
The reason is that, only teams participating in the World Cup will qualify for the Olympics, save for the host nations which means, Africa will have one Olympic Qualifying Tournament to decide the final teams for the summer Olympics.
The other issue about the system is that a player will only get one summer off from national team duty, something that is not the case currently except if the player decides against playing or is injured.