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LBA champs to be decided using first round results

Leemisa Thuseho

THE Lesotho Basketball Association (LBA) has resolved to use the results of the first-round of the 2019/20 National Basketball League (NBL) to determine the league winners and proceed to play offs.

The league was halted in mid-March 2020 when all sports were indefinitely suspended on the back of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

LBA secretary general Tšeole Kojana confirmed the developments to Lesotho Times.

Kojana said under normal circumstances, their season starts in September and runs until May the following year. Therefore, he said they have no time to finish the remaining fixtures of the league’s second round considering that they must also hold play offs.

When the league was halted in March, the league’s first round was over and only a few teams had played about three matches of the second round.

Kojane said they would use the first-round statistics to determine the league champions.

From there, the top eight teams in both the male and female categories will qualify for play-offs. The playoffs are meant to determine the overall national champions.

“We no longer have time to finish the remaining games and have resolved to end the league using first round results only,” said Kojana.

“Once we get the green light to continue with our activities, we will start the play offs out of which we will get the season’s overall winners. Only top eight teams will go for the play offs. However, we are yet to release a detailed plan on how to end the season.”

He said they are yet to inform all their stakeholders about the decision.

Last season the LBA cancelled the league after its playoffs were rocked by scandals and delays on the back of the disqualification of Tornado 98ers and Bokamoso South clubs. The two sides were accused of fielding suspended players.

Kojane said they cannot afford ending a second consecutive season prematurely. He said the LBA has also resolved to cancel this year’s high schools’ league.

“The high schools’ league is cancelled because we realised that even though we wanted to continue, the players would be busy with their studies since they lost time during the prolonged lockdown,” Kojane said.

The Covid-19 pandemic has also denied them chance to host the annual women’s tournament to celebrate Women’s Month in August.

“We failed to hold the Women’s Month tournament because of the Covid-19 pandemic and by the look of things, we are also likely to fail to hold the annual Independence Tournament because of the same reasons,” Kojane said.

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