Riyadi’s junior basketball programme got a boost this week with the announcement that Umniah had signed a partnership agreement with the club.
The partnership is mainly geared towards Riyadi’s over 400 boys and girls aged 5-14, and includes players in the mini-basketball league (aged 6-12) as well as the U-14 teams who represent the club in the local league as well as tournaments abroad.
At press conference, also attended by the club’s U-14 teams, Riyadi Secretary General Fadi Sabbah underlined the new partnership’s importance for the junior basketball programme and explained the extensive basketball agenda which helped provide Riyadi and the country with a solid base of young players.
Umniah’s CEO Joseph Hanania underlined his firm’s belief in sports “as a tool for molding minds” and instilling the “values of fair play, team spirit and loyalty”.
He added Umniah “was proud to be doing its part in shaping the perspective of Jordan’s future leaders”.
Jordan Basketball Federation (JBF) Executive Director Ayman Samawi, who attended the press conference, said that development programmes need sponsors and partners and called on clubs to take the initiative and create junior teams, adding that the JBF was looking ahead to start competitions for younger age-groups below U-14.
Beside playing in the JBF’s U-14 league, one of Riyadi’s many programmes, is the Super League, which is part of the club’s year-round mini-basket programme that started in 1990. Around 300 players aged 6-12 compete in 28 teams sponsored by local and international companies in Jordan.
Sabbah underlined that in addition to the local activities, Riyadi has tournaments and workshops lined up aimed at keeping players and coaches up to date on the latest in the game of basketball.
Those include the Euro Pace Tournament in France for U-13 boys born in 1995 which the team recently took part, summer camps in Amman and abroad as well as the mini-basketball tournament in Matera, Italy, in which Riyadi has been taking part for the past decade.
In 1998, Riyadi-Aramex was the first Jordanian club to reinstate a mini-basketball programme after a 26-year hiatus. The mini-basketball programme at the club is unique in its organisation and training approach, with the programme’s ultimate goal aiming to prepare the young players for the under-14 and 16 categories. The mini-basketball programme was established with the primary goal of introducing young children to the game, while providing them with the basic principles of basketball, all in a fun and competitive way.
Although federations exist on the Arab, West Asian and Asian levels, there are no tournaments so far for mini-basket in the region. For the past four years, Riyadi have been organising a mini-basketball festival during the summer, hosting boys and girls teams from the region.
Novel ideas initiated by Riyadi in past seasons include basketball Trading Cards bearing the pictures and info of all the club’s players, with national team veterans having autograph and photo sessions with the kids. The club also hosted advanced coaching clinics and sent its former players, like Mutasem Salameh and Yousef Abu Baker, to advanced coaching clinics abroad.
This year, Riyadi’s men’s team, which was sponsored by Aramex, finished fourth after losing 3-2 to Arena in the best-of-five play-offs for third place. Their men’s team was credited with alternating wins without import players until the final play-offs.
Riyadi split the season titles with league champs Zain and runner-up Orthodoxi. Riyadi won the U-20 (runner-up, Zain) and U-16 titles (runner-up, Wihdat).
Orthodoxi won the Jordan Basketball Cup, the U-14 (runner-up, Aqaba), women’s and girls titles (runner-up, Riyadi). Zain managed to win the Under-18 youth title (runner-up, Orthodoxi).
Riyadi (then Jazira) won the league in 1997.
23 April 2008
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