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Historic 73rd placing for basketball team

THATO KALA
Basketball minds: The Botswana Basketball Association (BBA) held its AGM over the weekend and applauded the team's rankings PIC: KABO MPAETONA
World basketball governing body, FIBA, has ranked Botswana 73rd following the just-ended 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women, a milestone in the local game as none of the national basketball teams have ever been ranked.

The men remain unranked because they have not been active for a while.

The tournaments used for the rankings include the FIBA Africa, FIBA Americas, FIBA Asia, Eurobasket Championships and FIBA Oceania Championships.

The ranking is calculated within the scope of a two Olympic Games cycle (including qualifying competitions at FIBA Zone level).

Botswana took part in the last Afrobasket tournament and will also be at the next one, which has been postponed from next week to January 2015 in Zimbabwe.

National team coach, James Kalebwe said they were hopeful that they would improve that ranking. They are grouped with South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe for the upcoming tournament.

South Africa is ranked 69 while Zimbabwe is also in position 73 despite beating Botswana narrowly in their last meeting.

“Looking at last year’s

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performance it was not bad, Zimbabwe are better physically. I thought we were better than them technically and they won our last meeting with a 26-point margin in Mozambique,” Kalebwe told Mmegi Sport.

He added: “I believe we can improve on our ranking. We are targetting SA because they are similar to our players, the Zimbabwean girls are physical.” Local clubs hailed the development on Saturday during the Botswana Basketball Association (BBA) annual general meeting in Gaborone.

They said a first time ranking could only point to a brighter future for the game.

However, clubs challenged the association to always ensure teams get the best preparation ahead of tournaments.

Angola remain the highest ranked African country after moving two place from 20th to 18th with Mali perched on 19th.



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