National Basketball League men’s basketball is set to be launched mid-February this year. Here is what we know, who?, when? where?
First of all what exactly is it?
It is the much talked about and a long time dream among players, coaches and fans of Nepali basketball. A dream for a proper basketball league; one that will give the basketball players bigger stage (domestically) to showcase their work…hard work…training day in day out…risking their education and much more.
Only now, it looks like the dream is coming true. It is the home and away men’s basketball league…basketball competition in Nepal at it’s best…the “National Basketball League”.
How did it come about?
As much as it was dreamed of, no one had the courage to actually push it forward. Well, it is a tough challenge in a world deeply divided and politics kicks in every where.
We were told, one man, took it upon himself to try and get see it through….Norbu Gurung. But it was never going to be one man show. Norbu got in touch with Play for Deprived Children of Nepal (PDCN), a sports related charity organisation who whole heartedly supported the idea and came on board and took a major role. And both got in touch with Nepal Basketball Association (NeBA), who also came on board…ready to splash out cash prize for the league winners.
The biggest reason this is actually happening though…we believe, is the years of frustration among players and coaches who never had much opportunity to show their work. Years of training but nowhere to showcase their talent. The number of basketball tournaments were dwindling and they had to do something.
Many basketball teams within the capital and outside, except for few which were formed recently, have been competing whenever opportunity came about. But bringing them together for a common cause was a big challenge, despite deep down every body wanted the same thing…a viable platform to showcase their work and hopefully some day become basketball professionals. Due to disagreements and most of all due to busy schedules as most have to take up another job to support themselves.
Now, a small group of people have brought them together.
Apart from PDCN and NeBA, the key players are off-course the participating teams…eight in total, all based in Kathmandu valley. Bringing in basketball teams from outside the capital is said to be in the league’s future plans.
Teams set to participate at the first edition of the National Basketball League (in alphabetical order):
- ANK Kirtipur Basketball Team
- Bishal Milan Kendra (BMK)
- Goldengate Int’l College
- Himalayan Hounds
- Nepal Army Club
- South Siders
- Xavier Int’l College
There is no such hierarchical or pyramid system of management as you would see in a business institution. Instead it will be managed by set of committees, according to PCCN chief, Namit Thapa. For instance the disciplinary committee will be responsible for the obvious (disciplinary procedures), which will be headed by NeBA chief Tendi Sherpa himself.
Exactly how many committees are there is yet to be revealed. Both NeBA chief Tendi Sherpa and PDCN Chief Namit Thapa have told us that details will be released once the MoU between the two parties has been signed.
We are told that most things between the two parties have been agreed in principle and once finer details are ironed out the MoU will be signed. It was originally set to be signed earlier but PDCN chief Thapa told us that because of NeBA chief’s busy schedules the signing has been delayed.
Overwhelming support from sponsors
When we first met Norbu Gurung about a month ago, one of the things he told us was that there was good response from sponsors. He had told us how PDCN was at the forefront of attracting sponsors….working behind the scene to get all the paper work done to setting up meetings with prospective sponsors. He also told us that NeBA chief, Sherpa and men’s national team captain, Sadhish Pradhan, also spared their time to go along with them to sponsors so as to make their case stronger.
Things had moved so well that when we met PDCN chief Thapa just after a few weeks, he told that they had received overwhelming support from sponsors. “There are so many good offers”, he added.
All of the matches will be held at each team’s home court except for the final, which will be held at the Covered hall in Tripureshwore. Off course non of the venues meets international quality. All of them have concrete surface except for Covered hall. Some courts are smaller than regulation size and worse yet, some don’t have enough space outside the boundary. But they have no choice but to make do with what they have.
The National Basketball League is scheduled to start on February 17 to March 31, 2018. It was originally scheduled to start on the first week of January. But it was moved back after Nepal Sports Council (NSC) announced the National Games which coincided with the proposed date. Detailed schedules should be released after the MoU signing between concerned parties.
Three tier security
Although there wasn’t a lengthy basketball league as such, there used to be plenty of open tournaments before it started to drop in number. One of the many reasons used to be security. And there have been questions raised regarding this as soon as the word got out about the National Basketball League.
PDCN Chief, Thapa has told us that there will be a three tier security present on match days. He said that majority of security issues will be dealt by the home team. “Then there will be our (organiser’s) security personnel present at all venues during matches”, he added.
In addition, he said, “we’ll have police presence in all match days.”
If this is true, then there shouldn’t be any security problems.
Another problem that has plagued Nepali Basketball is lack of enough referees. And those who are available have to support themselves through other jobs. On top of that, dissent from players and coaches was a major issue.
NeBA chief, Sherpa has assured us that there will be no shortage of referees for the league. However, some referees have told us that there have not been formal meeting to discuss about the league yet.
Besides, the support from sponsors, another bit of positive about the league is that there is fairly good media support. We at Arko Network whole-heartedly support the new basketball league. But then we are a small media.
Best news as far as media support is concerned has to be that, AP television is said to have agreed to cover the event.
PDCN chief, Thapa said that everything between the league organisers and AP TV is agreed… just the formalities remain. Exact nature of the contract between the two parties is yet to be revealed.
There is also word that organisers are talking to Dish Home for possible coverage but it is yet to be confirmed.
As for rest of the media houses and written press, they will go where there is public interest. Because that is essentially what media outlets are there for. To serve the public with news. And if the National Basketball League can generate enough public interest then pretty much all the media houses will follow.
PDCN or “Play For Deprived Children Nepal” is a Non Government Organization (NGO) which aims to help deprived children of Nepal through sport. Deprived not just because of poverty but because of cultural and traditional trends.
PDCN on its website says, “PDCN uses sports and play to achieve educational and better health objective. PDCN is driven by athlete, which uses sports and play to enhance child and youth development and to build community capacity. PDCN use the transformative “Power Of Play’ to educate and empower children facing adversity. Through sports and games PDCN helps children build essential life skills and better future.”
NeBA or “Nepal Basketball Association” is the basketball governing body in Nepal. NeBA in the last decade is credited with taking Nepal to international stage but at the same time it is widely criticised for neglecting domestic basketball.