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বাংলা
Dhaka Tribune

The end game

Update : 23 Jun 2015, 11:19 AM

Is basketball really a dying sport? Lets assess the situation - the wooden court has unpredictable and deceitful holes, the funding of the federation is tight and never exceeds the limit enough to make way for betterment, they barely have enough to pay the staff, so no fancy expenses. The colour on the code for the three pointer line markings are almost faded and let's not get started on the ring! Few months back they issued a significant amount of money to renovate the court, yet there are no signs of renovation. Question is, where did the money go?

We have a handful of basketball players in the country, most of them are just under-aged enthusiasts and a very small number of them are actually dedicated players. Even though BKSP trains a bunch of students for the national team, only a few of them make it to the draft. Among civil basketball players, the majority of them only participate in private basketball tournaments. Lack of proper advertisement and communication simply gives the impression that the federation doesn't really care. The not-so-ever growing crowd of fans took a halt after the last VH basketball tournament and the gallery is usually empty during most games. The indoor gallery has an insufficient number of fans hanging from the ceilings, making the whole gallery unbearably hot during a full house. The lack of proper lighting and constant power shortages lead to interruption in the middle of vital games.

On the other hand, we do get one or two basketball tournaments every month. If not in the federation, some other local court usually organises a basketball tournament. Needless to say that basketball is kept alive by the private sector when compared to the government's efforts or lack thereof. It makes us wonder, do we really need the basketball federation? Few months ago an initiative was taken to break the whole complex and give it to the private sector to rebuild the whole Abohoni basketball community. The initiative, however, seemed like it was just a rumor.

Let's not name the ones to blame, money always moves under the table weather we realise it or not - big teams get more support in and out of the court. If we go back to last year's Premier Basketball League, Dhumketu fought hard during one of the group stage games against Dhaka Gladiator, the champion team. A huge fight broke out when the foreign coach physically assaulted Dhumketu managers and the crowd went nuts. Backed up by a big shot businessman, the Gladiators hired foreign (professional NBA ballers to be exact) to play for their team. Even though this selfless act to spend a lot of money to hire foreign players inspired the players to watch NBA players ball, to some extent, it even drove out potential players. However, we must note that it makes it unfair for the other teams in the league. Let's face it, a 6-feet tall Bangladeshi basketball player against a 7.5-feet tall professional NBA player is too great of a challenge. We'd all know who'd win that match nine times out of 10.

Truth be told, corruption is not really the problem here as it is the pollen of every government organisation. For the past few years we only see known faces holding the spirit of the court together. What happens when future generations cannot step into their shoes when they are done and dusted?

Lets cross our fingers and hope for the best.

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