Tigers battle to stay alive

Tigers battle to stay alive

MASERU – Tigers Basketball Club is quite literally fighting tall odds to stay alive in the National Basketball League (NBL) this season.
In August before the 2018/19 campaign started, the club registered men’s and women’s teams in the NBL but Tigers is struggling to make ends meet and the financial issues are threatening to destroy the budding team.

Tigers have 15 players in their men’s and women’s squads but only six have been registered in each because the club could not afford the registration fees for the other players.
The six registered players, as a result, are being forced to play without rest every week, in every game.
It is a vulnerable formula especially with five players needed to take the court in a basketball game and two weeks ago Tigers forfeited NBL games in both the men’s and women’s leagues because not enough players turned up.

Speaking to thepost on Monday, Tigers head coach Tefo Mosala said the club’s issues are amplified by the fact their players live far from Maseru, some as far as Leribe and Mafeteng.
“Our problems are more to do with administrative issues, finances to be exact. The team doesn’t have money and that has limited the team to just six players,” Mosala said.
“We have 15 players but only six have been registered and can play. This is the problem facing the ladies team and men’s team. Sometimes the players get caught up with their commitments and cannot make it to the games. The games that we forfeited were because some of our players couldn’t make it due to personal reasons.”
However, even with the sizeable challenges, Tigers say they are not giving up.

Mosala said the club is brimming with young players and is determined to see them develop, on and off the court.
“We are trying to work hard to resolve the club’s finances because we love basketball and we want to keep playing,” Mosala said.
“Our team is based in Maseru but we have players all over the country, some from as far as Leribe and Mafeteng, so our players are scattered all over,” he added.
Last weekend Tigers’ men’s side narrowly lost 36-32 to 2015 champions Bashana Baheso (BBH) and are the bottom of the NBL’s southern conference after five games. The team’s spirit in the matches they have played, however, has illustrated their determination.

“Despite the challenges and problems facing the team, the performance in the games we have played have not been bad at all,” Mosala said.
Nonetheless, Tigers are on a tight rope.
Lesotho Basketball Association (LBA) rules state that if a team forfeits three games in a season they are disqualified from the league. It is something Mosala hopes never happens to the promising crop of young players he is nurturing.

“We have a very young team,” Mosala said.
“These are players that we want to grow into the sport and play,” he added.
“It is nice to win but we are developing players. We are trying to build them as players and if we can get money, we will register more players.”

Luciah Phahla

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