THE annual basketball Independence Memorial Invitational Tournament hangs in the balance as most of the teams lined up to compete are struggling to pay the registration fee.
Slated for next Saturday and Sunday, the tournament was established to honour the memory of basketball players who have died over the years, with particular emphasis on the late Mohale Molapo.
According to Lesotho Basketball Association (LBA) Public Relations Officer, Ratšolo Molupe, the sport was blighted by the lack of finances which had necessitated the downscaling of the tournament.
He said foreign teams were invited to contest in previous editions of the tournament, but now they were only coming for the Summer Slam tourney that is held in December.
“In the preceding years, we used to bring teams from outside Lesotho to the tournament, but now it will only feature local teams. Maybe, we will be able to invite teams from nearby Bloemfontein,” Molupe said.
The 21 male and female teams in the national basketball league were struggling to foot the registration fee for the Independence Memorial Invitational Tournament, he said.
The national basketball league consists of 11 male and 10 female teams.
Molupe said some of the teams were still yet to pay the national basketball league’s own M2 500 registration fee, highlighting the extent of their deprivation.
“The lack of finances in our sport has become a major problem because it hinders its growth and development.
“As much as we are expecting at least 90 percent of our teams to register for the tournament, it is going to be a challenge because they don’t have the money.
“Some of them have still not paid in full the registration fees for the national league, so it is indeed a challenge.”
He also revealed that the LBA was considering reducing the tournament’s registration fee to accommodate all the teams.
“The tournament will continue and we are looking at revising the registration fee so that everyone can be accommodated,” he added.