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TOG - United to grow basketball in Togo

LOMÉ - Togolese basketball may not be living its best days due to limited facilities and infrastructures, but a project called 'Leading Youth Sport and Development (LYSD)' has some great ideas for the future of the game in the country.

In order to promote basketball and make a positive impact on youth education while also tackling anti-social behaviour in Togo, LYSD in 2013 teamed up with a number of sponsors to launch 'Basketball Promotion Week (BPW)'. It was a great success, attracting almost 300 participants between the ages of 10 to 18, all eager to learn and commit to the game of basketball.

The initiative was so successful, that LYSD is set to host the 2014 edition of BPW from 21 to 27 April during which it will unveil a new basketball court in Kouvé, a small village located in the municipality of Yoto, and highlight the need for entrepreneurship.

LYSD is expecting to attract some 500 participants and a crowd of at least 5,000 fans.

The African Leadership Academy and the Programme Excellence Jeunes - two African institutions aiming to train tomorrow's leaders - will be invited to take part in the event.

During the inaugural Basketball Promotion Week last year, LYSD carried out a survey and 78 percent of the participants considered the sport facilities in the country - including basketball courts - to be poor.

Jean-Luc Agboyibo, the chairman of LYSD, explained to the challenges they face.

"We don't want to blame Togolese Sport authorities," he said.

"It would be great to develop sport infrastructures in order to diversify sport practices and to attract events such as AfroBasket.

"Through LYSD, we are trying our best to change the mentality in the country," Agboyibo explained.

When asked to compare basketball in Togo to the rest of the world, Agboyibo said: "I visited countries in Europe, America and Africa. From the physical point of view, we have nothing to envy basketball players from those countries. We just need to improve basketball fundamentals.

"The basketball philosophy used in Angola and Europe could help us to grow the game. I am convinced that we have a pool of talents everywhere in Africa.

"Unfortunately, too many people tend to embrace football, and we are certainly missing others sports athletes."


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