In their constant bid to bring the latest and most exciting to a growing number of basketball enthusiasts in their club, the Riyadi Club will soon team up with the NBA to develop and promote the game in Jordan and the region.
Following meeting with NBA officials in Madrid on the sidelines of NBA pre-season games in Europe, Riyadi Secretary General Fadi Sabbah said he was pleased with the outcome of his trip and the NBA’s keenness to help.
“Our programmes will start as early as January 2010 and will bring NBA coaches and players to share their experiences with our coaches and kids,’’ he said.
Sabbah, a former player and veteran coach, told The Jordan Times the first event will be a “Winter NBA Camp” in Amman in January run by an NBA coach and an NBA legend.
“Discussions with the NBA also touched on a long-term partnership that includes coaching clinics and junior basketball camps,’’ he added.
With the aim of promoting the NBA and developing the game in Europe Middle East and Africa (EMEA) Sabbah was invited to Madrid where he met with officials, VIPs and sponsors ahead of the NBA Europe game (Utah Jazz vs. Real Madrid).
Sabbah had several meetings including Sophie Goldschmidt (managing director NBA EMEA), Ali Hamamsy (managing director Middle East), Alvydas Pazdrazdis (director basketball operations EMEA), Jean Baptist Leroux (senior specialist - New Business Development) and Charles Rosenzweig (senior VP NBA Entertainment). He also met NBA legend Darryl Dawkins, who is now director and head coach of Team IZOD in New Jersey.
Sabbah seemed enthusiastic about affiliating Al Riyadi mini-basket programme with the Jr. NBA/ Jr. WNBA programme, which would also entail NBA support to the annual summer festival organised by the club. “We are also discussing an exchange programme between Riyadi U-17 Boys and Team IZOD.’’
Umniah signed a partnership agreement with Riyadi last year geared towards the club’s over 400 boys and girls ages 5-14, and includes players in the mini-basket league (ages 6-12) as well as the U-14 teams who represent the club in the local league as well as tournaments abroad.
While basketball activities are on hold with the dissolution of the Jordan Basketball Federation in mid-July, Riyadi recently kicked off their Super League, which is part of the club’s year-round mini-basket programme that started back in 1990. Around 300 players, aged from 6-12, will compete in 28 teams sponsored by local and international companies in Jordan.
In addition to the local activities, Riyadi has trips and workshops lined up aiming at keeping players and coaches up to date on the latest in the game of basketball. The club hosted coaches’ clinics and sent its former players to advanced coaches’ clinics abroad. The main event abroad is the Mini-Basket 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 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. The programme’s ultimate goal is to prepare young players for the under-14 and -16 categories.
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 five summers, Riyadi has been organising a mini-basketball festival in the summer, hosting boys and girls teams from the region.
Last year, Riyadi’s men’s team finished third in the League, and runner-up to champs Zain in the Jordan Cup. They split the season’s titles with Orthodoxi, winning U-15 boys, U-16 girls, U-18 women and women. Riyadi took U-13 boys, U-14 girls and U-17 juniors titles, while Zain won U-19 youth and Jordan Cup. Riyadi (then Jazira) won the league in 1997.
19 October 2009
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