BY Joe Apu
FIBA on Tuesday held the groundbreaking ceremony for the new headquarters of its African Regional Office in Cote d’Ivoire’s capital city of Abidjan.
Members of the basketball family and other sports stakeholders travelled from all parts of the African continent to attend the ceremony which was presided by François Amichia, Minister of Sports and Recreation of Cote d’Ivoire.
Joining Amichia were a number of distinguished guests including: FIBA Africa President and FIBA Vice-President Hamane Niang; FIBA Africa Regional Director Alphonse Bile; FIBA Chief Operating Officer Markus Studer; FIBA Treasurer Ingo Weiss; FIBA Africa Central Board members and former African basketball players.
Niang said: “Building the headquarters in Abidjan will allow FIBA Africa to have a real legacy for the radiance of its image and credibility on the continent and around the world. I would like to congratulate FIBA for this great initiative. This building will allow FIBA Africa to do an even better job of fulfilling its mission regarding basketball and the development of the sport.
“With this work tool and the growth of the regional office’s activities, there is no doubt that FIBA Africa will still be able to request and obtain from the Ivorian authorities a more substantial settlement agreement.”
In his address to the more than 230 persons on hand, Mr Amichia said: “The laying of this foundation stone is more than an event. It is a symbol. The symbol of an ambition translated into concrete action. It is also the symbol of a fruitful partnership, between the state of Cote d’Ivoire, the Ministry of Sports and Recreation and all the stakeholders of the project in the borough of Treichville.”
Weiss revealed: “It was at the 2012 Olympic Games in London that we had the honour to be welcomed by the President of Cote d’Ivoire to inform him of our construction project. We requested and obtained the allocation of a parcel of land and a financial involvement from Cote d’Ivoire. The file was forwarded to the government in accordance to the President of the Republic’s instructions. Today, Mr Minister of Sports and Recreation, our project has at last become a reality and FIBA would like to thank you.”
In the same vein, Bile, said: “African basketball wished to be a reliable, legal and perennial institution on the continent. We are on the right track thanks to Minister François Amichia who has agreed to grant us this land and the associated privileges. We are also on the right track thanks to FIBA’s decision to finance the construction of this headquarter in agreement with the members of the FIBA Africa Central Board.”
The two-floor building will be built on a 4.000 square metre plot of land on the banks of the Ebrie Lagoon in the Treichville borough and is expected to be completed by early 2018, with investment in the project totalling CFA 730 Million.
During the ceremony, a capsule was filled with basketball objects and memorabilia that included signed balls, and three books on the history of FIBA Africa that will be cemented into the building’s foundations.