In an effort to develop basketball amongst youthful Liberians in the leeward counties, the Ministry of Youth and Sports, is in the hunt for US$33,000.00 to fund the 2015 Upcountry basketball tournament.
This year’s tourney is scheduled from Friday, March 13 to Monday, March 16, in the gymnasium of the William V.S. Tubman-Gray United Methodist High School in Gbarnga, Bong County.
According to the fixture, seven schools from two counties, Bong and Margibi, are expected to participate in the four-day basketball jamboree.
The schools are: Gboveh High School, the William V.S. Tubman-Gray United Methodist High School, St. Mark Lutheran High School and St. Peter Episcopal High School, all in Bong County.
The remaining participants are Phebe Lutheran High School and St. Martins Catholic School also located in Bong County; including the defending champions, Booker Washington Institute (BWI) in Margibi County.
The Ministry’s appeal for financial sponsorship is owing to government budgetary deficit because of the outbreak of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).
Asst. Sports Minister Murvee Gray told the Daily Observer over the weekend in an exclusive interview that the government has appropriated US$6,250.00 which is about 18% of the total budget.
Asst. Minister Gray said the US$33,000.00 is intended for transportation, feeding, accommodation, trophies, medals, organizational structure, renovation of the gym, per diems, amongst others.
He revealed that in order to have a successful 2015 Upcountry basketball tournament, the Ministry has written four institutions for sponsorship.
They include: the Managing Directors of the National Port Authority (Matilda W. Parker) and the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (T. Nelson Williams, II.)
Others are Commissioner Beyan C. Kesselly of the Liberia Maritime Authority and Dewitt VonBallmoos of the National Social Security and Welfare Corporation.
“We believe that these four individuals, who are notably basketball enthusiasts and managers, will sponsor the Upcountry basketball tournament,” Asst. Minister Gray said.
“We want to use this medium to thank them in advance for their support and they will always be remembered for their roles in the development of basketball and the physical abilities of young people in sports,” he said.
He added: “If Liberia should be as other countries in sports, a program like this needs to be sustained to ensure the total improvement of the game.”
“From this tourney players would be scouted and subsequently recruited and trained to eventually be able to make a better representation in a future competition,” he said.