«I guarantee that it is worth it, for those who like the sport, to come here to see the joy, emotion and talent», guaranteed Manuel Fernandes, president of the Portuguese Basketball Federation, on the sidelines of the presentation of another Youth Basketball Festival, which will take place in Albufeira, between the 9th and 14th of April.
Altogether, more than 800 female and male athletes, from the sub-14 and sub-16 levels, will attend the event, in a total of 72 district teams, accompanied by 144 coaches.
Added to these are «160 table officials and referees, 60 volunteers and 22 camera operators», which will allow «to broadcast 205 games through FPB TV, to the whole world».
“These are gigantic numbers”, said Manuel Fernandes.
“Expectations are always high and never fail. We've always managed to achieve our goals and we hope that this year the pandemic doesn't make us any crooks, but I'm convinced it doesn't. We will take all preventive care so that nothing happens and everyone feels safe here”, believes the president of the federation.
“This is almost a renaissance, after two years of interregnum. It is the rebirth of the joy of the basketball party», said José Carlos Rolo, mayor of Albufeira.
The mayor of Albufeira emphasizes that, in addition to the sporting dimension and the talents that pass through here – «Neemias Queta, the first Portuguese player to play in the NBA, played here in under-14 and under-16»-, there is an important economic dimension. .
«We also have the part of the economy, because, in this time of school interruption of Easter, the Basketball Festival brings to Albufeira, in addition to athletes, coaches and everyone involved in the party, their families», he recalled.
Only the people who are connected to the event, whether in the competitive aspect, whether in the organization, or in the support, ascend to «1542», to which family members of athletes «and those who like the sport» will have to join.
Cristiano Cabrita, vice-president of the municipality and councilor for Sport, considered, for his part, that this event “is fundamental for Albufeira and an example of the good dynamism of sport and the dynamics of the circular economy”.
The Youth Basketball Festival, which is in its 14th edition, the ninth in Albufeira, is organized by the Portuguese Basketball Federation and the Albufeira Chamber, with the support of the Algarve Basketball Association, as well as the Albufeira Basketball Club and the Immortal Basketball Club.
Manuel Fernandes made a point of congratulating the senior women's team at Immortal for the promotion to the Portuguese Basketball League, the main national level – the men's team competes in the Betclic Basketball League and is also among the best nationally.
In this way, Manuel Fernandes stressed, «Albufeira is the only municipality in the country with less than 100 thousand inhabitants that has teams in the two main competitions of the sport, male and female».
«It fills us with pride to see teams from the county in the two main levels. Everything we can spend on basketball and other sporting activities can never be seen as an expense, it is always an investment”, said José Carlos Rolo.
Also returning is the “Solidarity Basketball” initiative, under which each participant in the event, from athletes to volunteers, donate at least two euros to raise funds for a charitable cause.
In 2022, the money raised will go towards supporting refugees from the war in Ukraine.
Photos: Hugo Rodrigues | Sul Informação