Albufeira is once again the youth basketball capital for six days in April

The Youth Basketball Festival is now celebrating its 15th anniversary, ten of which in Albufeira

A delegation of 1500 athletes, as well as coaches and referees from all over the country, plus the players' families and friends and fans of the sport: from the 11th to the 16th of April, Albufeira will once again be the stage of the Youth Basketball Festival.

Over six days, the district selections of the U-14 and U-16 levels of the modality, in male and female, bring to this Algarve city «probably the biggest federated youth sports event in the country and certainly the biggest event in basketball» , as highlighted by Manuel Fernandes, president of the Portuguese Basketball Federation.

The Youth Basketball Festival, which now celebrates 15 years, ten of which in Albufeira, was presented yesterday, with the presence of a Estrela of the modality, born in the municipality and formed in the two local clubs: Tomás Barroso, current captain of the Sport Lisboa e Benfica team.

To help the festivities, the President of the Federation announced an important novelty: the finals will be "staggered", that is, the finals of the U-14 women's and men's categories will be played on Saturday, the 15th, one in the afternoon and the other in the afternoon. night, so the public can watch all four finals. The U-16 women's and men's divisions will play the finals on Sunday, the last day of the competition.

Another novelty welcomed with pleasure is that all the decisive matches for the attribution of championship titles will be played in the Municipal Pavilion of Albufeira.


Cristiano Cabrita – Photo: Elisabete Rodrigues | Sul Informação


Cristiano Cabrita, vice-president of Albufeira's Chamber and councilor for Sports, after underlining the "unequivocal" support that the municipality provides to clubs in the municipality, in various sports, announced that, as planned, on the occasion of the Festival, the four 3×3 street basketball courts, located in Vale Faro.

Manuel Fernandes, president of the FPB, underlined that this is the first time that so many fields have been inaugurated for the free practice of basketball, while José Carlos Rolo, mayor of Albufeira, explained that the objective is to "popularize and democratize basketball", in order to encourage the children and young people of the municipality to have the desire to «be athletes of our clubs in this modality».

The Federation leader also recalled the work that «our selections do throughout the year», to prepare for the Festival, where the matches that qualify the best district selections are played. «There are teams that start with 40 athletes and then only 12 are qualified to be here. Some of them, in a few years, will be the players of our absolute national team».


Tomás Barroso receiving his shirt from the hands of the president of the FPB – Photo: Elisabete Rodrigues | Sul Informação

Tomás Barroso, who started playing at the age of 8 for local teams – first at Clube de Basquete de Albufeira, then at Imortal – and only later headed to Spain, where he consolidated his professional career, recalled that, in his youth, there was this Basketball Party. «I almost feel like being born again to be able to participate in these parties», joked the current captain of Benfica.

In statements to the Sul Informação, on the sidelines of the presentation, Tomás Barroso commented on the importance of the Youth Basketball Festival: «It is, perhaps, the most important stage in the sporting life of these young people. Not just because they are competing, but because they are having fun and building relationships for the future. That's the most beautiful thing about sport and it's also what they take away from this party. They are competing against the best, which is also very important for their development as athletes and for their future».

His own path shows «that it is possible to start far from the big centres, in a more discreet way, but reach the top of a modality».

The importance of Albufeira in the context of national basketball was underlined, on another level, by the president of the Federation, when he recalled that this is «the only municipality with less than 100 thousand inhabitants where there are two teams competing in the main male and female leagues» of modality: Imortal is in Liga Betclic, while CBA is in the step below.

One aspect highlighted by all stakeholders was the positive impact of this Festival on the municipality's economy. Although this impact has not yet been studied in rigorous terms, as admitted by José Carlos Rolo in response to a question from Sul Informação, the truth is that there are 1500 athletes, plus referees, coaches, family members and supporters who, for six days, are in the municipality, in the middle of the tourist low season, occupying accommodation, eating, shopping, moving around.

“This is not just a sporting event. It is a moment of unforgettable social relationship, a moment of culture, of education, and it also has a great economic role», stressed Manuel Fernandes.

For his part, the mayor José Carlos Rolo thanked the involvement of both the Basketball Association of the Algarve, the two clubs in the city and the school groups in the municipality, which will be largely responsible for a fundamental part of the logistics of this party: feeding the 1500 young and hungry athletes.

«All the conditions have been created for us to have a Youth Basketball Festival at the highest level», assured the mayor of Albufeira.


Photos: Elisabete Rodrigues | Sul Informação


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