Kondo Moussa

All eyes are turned to the mysterious city of Timbuktu where the 9th Annual Basketball Interleagues is in session. Teams from the other regions of Mali are present for this competition which will last 7 days. The 6 best teams will advance to Kayes (another region) for the “TOP 12″ competition with other qualifying teams from Bamako, the fast-growing capital city of Mali.

This tournament is held in high regard and considered the most important competition all the year. Managers come to give young players contracts and clubs from Bamako come to draft young men for their teams. For the moment in Mali, it’s the northwestern Kayes region that is attracting the most basketball interest.

Straight from a ground in Bamako, Mali (West Africa), Salif is a young baller like all the others in the capital of Mali. Without any income to buy necessary shoes to play, he keeps on playing with what he paid for with equivalent of two months fees from his school. As a student, he is obliged to gather his scholarship money to buy a new ones. In his age group, parents refuse to give money for basketball gear which here costs a fortune. Mali is among the poorest countries in the world, which means a great problem for people to do what they want financially and obliges young men to hustle to help their families.

Through the love of the game, Bobbito Garcia a.k.a Kool Bob Love from BOUNCE recently sent me sneakers, t-shirts, and shorts for those kids in Mali, West Africa. As a former championship pro player here in Bamako, I aim now at making my way to help this game and all the poor young b-ballers. When I received the five boxes Bobbito sent, I refused to give them to the players right away. I first contacted the community which support those teams, including the central Mayor Mr. Souleymane Dagnon, who accepted to come and welcome the materials to the kids. In the presence of almost hundreds of young boys and girls, I passed on the message Bobbito asked me to tell them: Read More »

Since ‘99, the Malian national basketball federation has initiated tournaments around the country which gathers young men from all the cities around. The 3rd Dune Conference brought 12 teams from Bamako, Mopti, Gao, Kidal and Tombouctou to compete three days and nights. The activities of this season begun with the Rails Basketball Conference in Kita, Region of Kayes. After this first tournament, all the organizers keep up for Gao about 1225 kilometers from the Capital in Nothern Region. These games inside the country excite the youngest to stay connected to basketball and their peers through the country.

During this edition, it paid homage to old famous referees who are now FIBA experts and specialists trainers for national coaches and referees, managing the first gala match between Kidal and Gao. It’s planning to gather in Kidal for the Peace Basketball Conference, to promote peace through B-BALL during the next month.

Basketball in Africa is more than playing for pleasure; it’s about the opportunity to get out of poverty and join teams all around the world. This fact obliged us to ask about the sport’s future in general.

Former Nigerian professional player Mr. Muktar Adamu Kaleh, now president of Zone III (FIBA-Africa), told me, “My vision for African basketball is to see countries competing amongst others from parts of the world like Europe and America, and not only competing but winning games. And believe me this is possible if Senegal, Mali, Nigeria can put their acts together and work hard to achieve this target. Many players from these countries are playing among different clubs in the best leagues in the world. Why can’t their countries get organized and make the best use of their own? I would also like to see Africa engaging in a serious youth development programs for the future. We have to really start developing the abundant talent God has blessed Africa with now for us to get a better tomorrow.” Read More »

Hailing from Niamey, Niger, Dr. Djamila Ferdjani is one of four women leading a national basketball federation in the continent of Africa. Born in 1963, Djamila is very attached to the development of the sport. As a doctor since ‘89, b-ball became her passion. She organized competitions for all the categories in her hometown and even sent from her own pocket young players abroad for them to perfect athletics and school. Since 2008, she’s been the elected president of the Nigerian national basketball federation. She looked for financial support to all the teams playing at the national championship and asked embassies in the capital to finacially support at least one center for the young players.

These actions are marking the rebirth of the Nigerian Basketball. Hopefully Niger gets on top in the coming years . . . regardless, the process is launched!

Gathering 12 countries from the West and Central Africa, the first sports, arts and cultures tournament of the Sahelo-Saharians’ countries’ Community (CENSAD), Mali was the favorite team to win the women’s Basketball trophy. In the new Basketball palace of Niamey (Niger), Mali was set to face Ivory coast, Lybia, Chad, Niger, Benin and Burkina Faso. To bring home the first trophy of this tournament, every country had to win all its matches against the other countries. After beating all the other countries, Malians’ junior women were defeated by the Ivorians’ ones ( 65-23) at the game everybody called the final. Then Ivory Coast brought home the gold medal, Silver medal for Mali and the bronze medal went to Niger (the first important reward in basketball area).