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Nineteen - year-old Martin Kolikoli left the country yesterday for Johannesburg, South Africa to take part in the Basketball Without Borders Programme. Kolikoli was selected by the Tanzania Basketball Federation (TBF) to represent the country in the basketball camp which starts today at the American International School of Johannesburg.
The clinic will close on Sunday. TBF president Richard Kasesela told reporters yesterday in Dar es Salaam Kolikoli won the chance to attend the camp due to his outstanding talent in basketball. “He’s the best young basketball player in the country. He impressed in various tournaments he took part in. He is also in the right age as required by the organizers.
They want talented basketball players who are 19 or below,” Kolikoli who is a form six student at Loyola secondary school in Dar es Salaam put his name on the mark through various basketball tournaments he has played in. The 6.2ft power forward said: “I have played in various festivals including Common Wealth tourney, secondary school basketball league, Dar es Salaam international schools league, and I also represented Kinondoni in Inter Secondary Schools.”
Kolikoli expressed his delight in the rare opportunity to train for about five days in South Africa. “Basketball is the game I love, I believe that I have got the talent and with this opportunity and support I’m sure I’ll achieve my dream to become an international basketball player.” Kasesela challenged Kolikoli to follow on the foot steps of Hasheem Thabeet who is the first Tanzanian to play in US college basketball.
“Basketball without Borders is an invaluable educational, social and health-awareness tool for all youth, where they also showcase their skills and learn from some of the best coaches and players. The BWB programme is organized worldwide by the National Basketball Association (NBA), and), the International Basketball Federation (FIBA). Selected by the NBA, FIBA and the participating federations, basketball players aged 19 and below will converge in Johannesburg to take part in the tournament.
Congo native Dikembe Mutombo of the Houston Rockets will once again lead a group of NBA players and team personnel including Shareef Abdur-Rahim (Sacramento Kings), Caron Butler (Washington Wizards), Nick Collison (Seattle SuperSonics), Juwan Howard (Dallas Mavericks), Thabo Sefolosha (Chicago Bulls) and Jennifer Azzi of the WNBA, as camp coaches and mentors. While Lance Blanks (Cleveland Cavaliers), R.C. Buford (San Antonio Spurs), Amadou Gall Fall (Dallas Mavericks) and Masai Ujiri (Toronto Raptors) will oversee as camp directors.