Lukos Energy Basketball League (LEBL) has shone a beam of hope to the Western and Nyanza region's basketball fraternity.
This is league coined by a team of basketball philanthropists with vast experience in sports management.
LEBL’s main objective is to identify, nurture and develop basketball talent in the country, with its primary focus in Western, Nyanza and Rift Valley.
League Director Brian Lusaga said 18 teams have registered for the inaugural season that tips off on June 24 at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Sportsground in Kisumu.
Lukos Energy CEO Elekiah Anguko said they want to give grassroots players exposure to high competitive action.
“The quest was born after carefully assessing the state of basketball programmes in the region, where we realized that we lack a competitive league run with proper structures aimed at tapping on raw talent at the grass-root level and give them exposure to top flight basketball.”
The games will be played across the region with the league fixtures showing fixtures at the following venues, Kisumu, Onjiko, Maseno, Kakamega, Kitale, Eldoret, Bungoma and Busia .
Lusaga who is also a Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) certified referee said the teams have been placed under two conferences; Victoria conference and Uplands conference.
“The league aims at getting the best for the game. We purpose to get qualified referees to man all our matches. The management has welcomed all stakeholders in the region to team up under one umbrella and craft a competitive league.
“So far we have gotten overwhelming reception as 18 teams have already confirmed participation. More teams are still showing interest and will be allowed to join the league,” said Lusaga.
George Onassis, Head of cooperate affairs said the league is poised to have a different perspective of the game where they aspire a league that will bring onboard various corporate sponsors, private and various county government together.
“With the game facing massive challenges at the grassroot, we seek to be the bridge to expose these raw talent to the limelight. It’s worth noting that it take's a lot of resources to pull all this, so we are working round the clock to make this a reality.
“So far we have Lukos Energy, Pacho 360 and crunch sports on board. We are looking for more partners to join the course and give the game a unique dimension in the country. We are looking for more sponsors to improve on the rewards,” said Onassis
Kimilili Sonics team manager Geoffrey Mwangi said they are happy with the new league that provides the opportunity for young unknown players a platform to play competitive and hopefully grow and attract interest from Premier League clubs.
“The league is the best platform to help young talent across the three regions. It will be accessible to all genders, competitive and promote cross culture amongst the basketball players in the league more so the high school teams and young players who will benefit by playing with a lot of veteran players.
“The league brings a possibility of getting quality courts across the counties. We look forward for more sponsorship in the league as it will spearhead the development of young talents and sports academies. We are excited to have the league,” said Mwangi.
The winner of the inaugural league will take home Sh30,000, an amount that might increase if more sponsors come on board. Runners up will go home with Sh20,000 alongside other side awards like trophies, certificates and merchandize.