The countdown to the much anticipated Upcountry Basketball Tournament in Nimba County continues, with less than 24 days left for Veep Boakai to jump the ball.
According to Assistant Youth and Sports Minister Murvee Gray, Vice President Joseph N. Boakai Sr. has been selected to serve as ‘Guest of Honor’ and he will deliver a special statement on “Integrity and Sportsmanship” at the tournament in Ganta, Nimba County.
He also added that the Ministry of Youth and Sports has invited the US Ambassador accredited to Liberia to receive honor for Americans who developed kickball and basketball in the country.
The basketball festival is slated for November 10-13, and is expected to bring together about 15 high schools from Bong, Nimba, Bomi, Grand Bassa and Lofa counties, Asst. Min. Gray said.
Some of the participating schools will include defending champions and host, Ganta United Methodist School, St. Mary’s, Bishop Carroll, and LASS, all from Nimba County.
Other participating schools are 2014 winner St. Martins, Gboveh High, and William V.S. Tubman-Gray of Bong County and Zorzor Central High and LTI of Lofa County.
Others are C. H. Dewey and Brumskine High School from Bomi and Grand Bassa counties respectively.
The four-day event, according to Asst. Min. Gray, will also be used by county basketball coaches to identify players for the upcoming 2016 National County Sports Meet.
The Upcountry Basketball is known as the “The McGowan Basketball Tournament,” named in honor of Mr. Herald McGowan, an American Peace Corps volunteer who dedicated 20 years of service to the development of basketball in Liberia.
The theme for this year’s tournament is “Bringing Young People Together Through Upcountry Basketball.”
An amount of US$9,000 has been allocated for this year’s tournament, but the organizing chair said the tournament is still in need of more support.
The upcountry basketball competition is a sporting festival initiated in the 1970s to help promote the game among high school students in the central region, which at the time comprised Bong, Lofa and Nimba counties.