India’s best basketball clubs/units (in the Men’s section) and state teams (from the Women’s division) are set to compete in the 26th Federation Cup National Basketball Championship for Men & Women, starting on Wednesday, March 14th at the Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium in Kochi (Kerala). The tournament will conclude with the finals on March 18th.
Eight Men’s teams and Eight Women’s teams have been chosen to take part in the championship, which is being organised by the Basketball Federation of India (BFI) in association with the Kerala Basketball Association.
There are special eligibility rules for the Federation Cup, which are based on the top eight Men’s and Women’s teams from the previous year’s National Basketball Championship, which ended in New Delhi in January 2011. For the Men’s championship, the champion club/unit in each state’s inter-state basketball championship will be invited to play in the Federation Cup. For the Women’s championship, the state teams themselves take part.
The following teams will take part in the 2012 Federation Cup in Kochi:
Western Railway (Indian Railways)
Punjab Police (Punjab)
Indian Overseas Bank (Tamil Nadu)
Air Force (Services)
Hyderabad District (Andhra Pradesh)
Bhilai Steel Plant (Chhattisgarh)
Customs and Central Exercise (Kerala)
Southern Railway (Indian Railways)
The 2011 Federation Cup was held in Raipur, Chhattisgarh last year. Western Railway won the Men’s tournament while hosts Chhattisgarh got their hands on the Women’s trophy. This year, all eyes will on the ONGC squad, a team full of veterans who have recently been reinvigorated with the addition of younger stars Vishesh Bhriguvanshi and Yadawinder Singh. ONGC also count Trideep Rai, Mohit Bhandari, Murali Krishna and Anoop amongst their star names.
In the Women’s section, Chhattisgarh will once again face stiff challenges from the other strong teams in the Women’s section – Southern Railway and Delhi. Look out for stars like Geethu Anna Jose, Anitha Paul Durai, and Kokila S (Southern Railway) and Prashanti Singh, Akanksha Singh and Raspreet Sidhu (Delhi).
The BFI has also announced that its foreign coaches for the national squads Kenny Natt, Pete Gaudet and Zak Penwell will be hosting a South Zone Coaching Clinic at the event on the final day (March 18th). Additionally, an open tryout will be held in front of Coach Natt and Coach Gaudet for prospective players in the South Zone on March 17th to be potentially scouted for the Senior National Camps.