Modern sports or urban sports, as many term it, is on a skyrocketing rise around the world. During the 2020 Toyo Olympics, we saw the introduction of new sports like Skateboarding,3x3basketball, Karate, Softball, baseball, Sports Climbing, and Surfing. This development shows how the narrative in sports is being projected in a new light.
Accra's budding basketball players showcase their talents at FIBA Impact 3x3 Basketball event
The Accra 3x3 Basketball Open tournament came off at the Dansoman SSNIT Flats court, with several Ghanaian basketball players displaying their talents…
Fortunately, Ghanaians can smile because Impact 3x3 has taken up the mantle to promote as many Ghanaian basketball athletes as possible to shine on the international stage. Basketball is still growing in Ghana and thankfully it is gaining massive traction amongst the youth. Of course, not everyone can play in the NBA, Euroleague, Chinese league, and the like but 3x3 basketball is very open to anyone with a genuine passion for playing the game.
Putting their plans into reality, the Impact 3x3 swung by Accra to organize their first Accra 3x3 Basketball Open tournament at the Dansoman SSNIT Flats court. Prior to this, they have been on tour in other regions including Oti region, Western Region and Volta Region. After the Accra Open, one of the organizers told Pulse Ghana that their next stop will be Tamale.
The Accra Open was a blithesome spectacle of eclectic basketball display from players all over the region. It was held on Saturday December 4, 2021. Prominent amongst the demeanor of the players was their passion not only for the game but for the culture around it. Infectious is probably the right word to use for their immense passion.
Eught teams from the Men’s game were going to battle it out whereas two teams from the women’s pool would lock horns as well.
Interacting with Stephen from Vipers, He said he’s been playing basketball since childhood “I have been playing basketball since I was eight. People told me I was good and to focus on playing outside because if I play here, I am just wasting my time. But I just wanted to play it for the fun of it because I just loved the game and also, playing professionally outside requires a lot of money so I rather looked into other stuff. Going Pro was not really my target but then I was also opened to the possibility if the opportunity had presented itself. I actually used to play in an amateur team that wasn’t really professional. I didn’t really put my all in it because I thought of the injuries I may incur and the lack of health insurance. So, I said to myself, why risk it. I rather focused on School instead.
He also added that he is a big fan of 3x3 and was expecting nothing but a great competition.
Prancing through the crowd and the players, Pulse Ghana interacted with a Ghanaian-based Ivorian woman-basketballer. Tanoh Merie -reine also known as Queen was her name and she plays for the Accra Reformers Women’s Basketball team in the Accra Basketball League. She also belongs to the Queens 3x3 basketball team. She talked extensively about her roots-Cote d’Ivoire, where she grew up and developed a love for basketball.
“I play with the queens and we want to be first that’s all..we actually won the 3x3 Takoradi Open and we want to take this one too” Tanah also talked about her hopes in playing for the WNBA in future
“In Africa, chances are very small but that is the hope for every player who has the experience and it depends on your vision and what you want to achieve in future” Queen also cited the issues around female sports in the country stressing that “ In Africa, the challenge is they do not promote female sports and it makes it very difficult. As far as I know, we can make things grow fast so if they invest more in female sports, I think we can go far…I believe there is a bright future for female sports in Africa because, in my country, we already sell players to international leagues” Queen also played for the Ivorian National Women’s Basketball team but moved to Ghana to primarily learn English while developing her skills in basketball.
The men's pool competition
The men’s game had two pools, Pool A and Pool B which had four teams each. Each team from a pool played a classic round-robin and whoever won more games advanced to the Semi-finals.
The games officially kickstarted at 12:00 pm and the first game was between Iconics and Team Bulls Eye which was one hell of a game. Iconics had 3 players from the Ghana National 3x3 basketball team playing for them and they were in person of James, Elvis and Desmond. Bullseye was fairly good but couldn’t outclass the iconic team who eventually won by 7 points to 5.
Wolves from Pool A managed o accrue 18 points out of three games and they lost all three. Vipers also followed suit with 19 points after winning one and losing two. As it stood, Iconics and Team Bullseye advanced to the semi-finals after gaining 36 points and 33 points respectively. Iconics shone brighter as they won all three of their games in Pool A
Pool B was equally as interesting with Tema Youngings, Black Ops, Icons, and G-Force.
Tema Youngings won just one game but still managed to pull 26 points. Black Ops also bagged 26 points after winning all three of their games. Icons lost all three of their games but hit a 27 points milestone and G-Force finished top of the pool pulling up 32 points after 2 wins in 3 games.
The Semi-final stages were set and it was going to be a fierce battle between Black Ops V Team Bullseye and Iconics against G-Force.
Black Ops against bullseye was an iconic clash with lots of physicalities. Both teams were equally skillful with the ball but Mustapha Ahmed Salim was just on fire and played a pivotal role in qualifying his team to the finals after a hard-fought 7points to 5 battle.
Iconics were already high on confidence and would capitalize on that energy as events unfold. G-Force on the other hand equally had a strong squad and was determined to give Iconics a run for their money. Iconics scored 18 points and G-Force had to bow out with just 5 points to their name.
Iconics were slated to go head to head against Black Ops in the finals.
The women's pool tourney
The women’s division saw The Queens go head to head with Skinny Jeans. They were the only two women’s team in the tournament so they directly began from the semi-final stage.
The Queens was the better of the two sides with Tanah Marie tenacious in shooting the 3 pointers. Esther Tsra was also amazing at scoring the layups and rebounds. Skinny Jeans ended the game with 4 points whereas The Queens walked away with 10 points.
The Final for the Women’s division was a rainbow of skills as Skinny Jeans tried their best to match the class and tenacity of the Queens. The Queens obviously had different plans and really wanted to clinch their second trophy this year. Skinny Jeans approached the finals in a completely different tempo. Like wildfire, they caught on to the Queens and gave them a run for their money. Their admirable effort didn’t really favor them. The Queens won by just a point difference to win their second title this season.
The men’s final was highly physical as well. Iconics didn’t enjoy their normal easy cruise as witnessed earlier. Black Ops was really keen on shooting 3 pointers and taking advantage of the rebounds. Iconics also had Elvis in their attack who was innately good in shooting 3 pointers. Omari was also phenomenal in making multiple assists. The game got more dramatic in the dying minutes as Black Ops looked like they had clinched it till Iconics won a free throw which earned them just about enough points to be crowned the Accra 3x3 Open champions.
After the game, Pulse Ghana got some exclusives from the players and Esther Tsra opened up about the fact that she has been playing for the Queens for the past four months “ We had this 3x3 in Takoradi so we just came together and made our team…We expected to win and we won even though it was quite tough at the latter part. But I knew we were gonna win”
Omari of Iconics also shared his views after the game and reiterated his earlier interview with Pulse Ghana where he stated that his team would win the competition. “The game was pretty tough …I told you earlier that we don’t expect too much but at the end of the day, we will take the cup home. The event most definitely met my expectations because we had one of the highest-ranked players in the 3x3 on our team. Much was expected and I believed in myself and I believed in my team and at the end of the day, we are crowned the champions.
Speaking to the Greater Accra Coordinator for Impact 3x3,Bakry, he was very positive that 3x3 basketball looks very promising in Ghana “We have to get more people on board and grow it so that we can take Ghana to the Olympics and win it which is the final product we are looking for”.
The main aim of this tournament is to get as many 3x3 basketballers ranked by the official FIBA website to push the country and give clubs a chance to compete on the international stages as well as the Olympics. Ghana is currently 90th on the world rankings. Impact 3x3 basketball will introduce an official league in Ghana next year for the 3x3 tournament..
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