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Basketball returns

Business

Chris Theko

The National Basketball League (NBL) will finally return to action after its suspension earlier this year due to the Covid-19 outbreak. 

The proposed date for the resumption of the game is 28 November 2020.

When the games were suspended earlier this year, the league was in its second round with 60 games remaining. 

According to statement issued by the Lesotho Basketball Association (LBA) the return to active basketball will see the competition delve straight to playoffs based on the current log standings for both the women’s and men’s competitions.  That will mean Shooting Rifles and Bokamoso North Ladies are the champions of the 2019 regular season for the men and women’s divisions respectively. 

“The league has at least 60 games excluding the playoffs which may continue until March 2021 if we are to play them all,” a statement from LBA reads. 

LBA says another daunting factor that may likely prolong the season even more is the issue of changed school calendar seeing as learners, who make up the majority players in the league are expected in school even on weekends.

The playoffs are expected to take a shorter period to allow teams to prepare for the 2020/21 season. 

In an interview with Newsday Sport earlier this week, LBA Public Relations Officer Hopolang Hoala said the decision to resume the season with top eight was not an easy one. 

“We decided to resume with the top eight because we could not afford not to complete the season rather find a solution because the situation of covid-19 is a tough one on all of us,” Hoala said. 

He said the National Basketball League Management Committee for competitions advised that due to a large number of games remaining it was best to not force to play them but go straight into the playoffs.  

The round of playoffs will start on 28 November 2020 under strict Covid -19 regulations where players and officials must be screened for the virus at most 14 days prior to the resumption of the league while regular screening will also be conducted. 

“All teams must have infrared thermometers, sanitizers, warm up balls, face masks and water bottles and the NBL management will ensure that every game is attended by 100 people or less,” added Hoala. 

If this season were to not be played to finality, it would have been a third season in a row to not play until the end.  In 2018 the season was interrupted by controversy between the then Executive Committee and clubs, while in 2019 the suspension of Bokamoso and T9ters sparked a disruption into the conclusion of the league.

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