Over the last two weeks in this segment we have been focusing on youth talent development in sports around the continent. Today we’ll take a break from football and head over to the basketball courts.
The NBA is investing millions to increase a foothold in the African market.
In line with nurturing budding youth talent, NBA has been partnering up with a number of other organisations to promote Junior NBA leagues in various countries in Africa. In Congo-Brazzaville, NBA joined forces with telecommunication company MTN to launch Junior NBA Brazzaville League while in Kenya, the Junior NBA Nairobi League tipped off on March 11 thanks to a partnership between NBA and Ford Motors.
This is not only happening in those two countries. Similar NBA programs for sponsoring youth talent are already underway in the Ivory Coast, Tanzania, Uganda and South Africa. NBA is also planning to launch an African academy in May this year, which will be based in Thies, Senegal which has exported some big names to the US such as Mamadou N’Diaye and Desagana Diop.
With initiatives like this you can be sure that many talented basketball players will develop and it will not be surprising in the near future to find many more fine athletes from Africa playing basketball in the U.S. and in other major leagues.
FIFA U-20 WORLD CUP DRAW ANNOUNCED
Now to matters football. The official draw for the Fifa Under-20 World Cup 2017 that will be hosted by South Korea took place on Wednesday at the Suwon Atrium in the country.
The 24 participating teams have been drawn into six groups of four in the global event that will be held between 20 May and 11 June 2017.
The draw was of course conducted by some famous football personalities including Diego Maradona, who won the 1979 Fifa Under-20 World Cup.
This draw comes hot in the heels of the Under-20 AFCON 2017 in Zambia, where the hosts along with runner ups Senegal, third place Guinea and fourth place South Africa qualified to the World Cup.
The Junior Chipolopolo will face two-time winners Portugal in their opening match, before facing Iran and Costa Rica in Group C.
Senegal have been drawn in a tough Group F with USA, Ecuador and Saudi Arabia.
Guinea are in the group of death, Group A alongside England, South Korea and Argentina. And finally South Africa will face off Japan, Italy and Uruguay in Group D.
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