Basketball party moves to Albufeira

The Basketball Party, which brings together nearly 2000 people, including athletes, coaches, managers and families, will this year have […]

The Basketball Party, which brings together nearly 2000 people, including athletes, coaches, managers and family members, will take place this year, for the first time, in Albufeira, from March 28th to April 1st.

After five years in Portimão, the Basketball Festival, presented as the «greatest event in youth sport in Portugal», is now heading to Albufeira, after the Portimão local authority, in the throes of a serious financial crisis, informed the Portuguese Basketball Federation , which it organizes, that this year it would not be able to host the event.

Desidério Silva, president of the Albufeirense Chamber, revealed, at the presentation of the party, which took place this Monday, that «when we realized that Portimão was not in a position to do it, we looked for partners, we developed work with the Algarve Basketball Association , with the Federation, and, depending on the specifications, we contacted schools and hoteliers», to resolve the issue of food and accommodation for athletes and their delegations.

All this, he insisted on underlining, without the Chamber spending any money. “The City Council only provides the sports spaces and ensures the logistics in terms of personnel. The Federation assumes the rest», guaranteed Desidério Silva.

Manuel Fernandes, technical director of the Basketball Federation, revealed that the organization of the Basketball Festival costs 200 thousand euros. “Portimão paid for all the accommodation and we paid for the food. Here in Albufeira, as we assume accommodation and food, we do not pay more than food in Portimão. And achieving this is the work of the Chamber», guaranteed the person in charge.

In fact, as explained in the event's presentation, the municipality negotiated special prices with hoteliers, while food will be provided in the city's school cafeterias and athletes and delegations will travel on the Giro urban transport network. "With the good collaboration of everyone, we were able to bring this great sporting event here," said Desidério Silva.

The mayor stressed that it makes perfect sense to bring the Basketball Festival to Albufeira, to «take advantage of the investment we have made in sports infrastructure and in basketball training». With this event, the city will "monetize equipment, services, the experience of clubs, involving hoteliers and schools," he added.

Manuel Fernandes, technical director of the Basketball Federation, for his part, pointed out that the Festival involves more than 1000 young players, 144 coaches, 72 managers, 98 referees, 56 members of the organization, and «one to two thousand parents, relatives, friends who accompany the athletes».

For five days, from Wednesday to Sunday, the animation will then invade Albufeira. The men's and women's teams from all districts of the country, made up of the best players between the ages of 14 and 16, participate in the Festival. “The best 12 players from each region, in both sexes and in two levels, will be here”, stressed Manuel Fernandes. "For thousands and thousands of young people, boys and girls in our country, this celebration is the highest moment of the season."

Regarding the choice of Albufeira, the Federation's technical director pointed out: «those who have known basketball for many years know that Albufeira is a landmark of the sport in the Algarve and in the country. There are few councils that have two basketball clubs like what happens here».

Manuel Fernandes also referred that, in Albufeira, «we don't need to leave the city to have nine spaces necessary for basketball practice».

In addition to the games between the national teams, Manuel Fernandes recalls that the Party will promote many other activities. One of them will be the Mini-Basketball Jamboree, for children from 7 to 11 years old from Albufeira.

There will also be Live Basket, on Saturday, with the assembly of 16 outdoor basketball tables, to create 16 fields where anyone who wants can play.

In addition to the Fair Play Award, designed to encourage healthy competition, this year the Solidarity Award was created, to which all players contribute with one euro. The resulting funds will be handed over to a social institution in Albufeira, which will be appointed by the municipality.

Ana Herculano, president of the Algarve Basketball Association, highlighted the importance of the festival for the development of the sport and said that «basketball in the Algarve owes a lot to all the work that has been done in training».

The official added that "only with a lot of training will we have, in the future, an Algarve team to dispute the Pro-Liga and then the League".

The Basketball Festival will take place between March 28, the day on which the delegations will arrive and the welcome ceremony will be held, at Praça dos Pescadores, and April 1, the day of the closing event.