BFI’s new National League to start in Kochi on Oct. 16

October 13, 2022, Kochi

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Two weeks after announcing an October 12 start in Jaipur, there is now a change of venue and dates for the new Indian National Basketball League.

Kochi, which was not even among the four INBL venues announced by the Basketball Federation of India late last month, will now host the opening leg of the 5×5 league at the Rajiv Gandhi indoor stadium from October 16 to 20 while Jaipur (Oct. 26-30) and Pune (Dec. 7-11) will be the venues for other two legs in the league phase. The finals will be played in Bengaluru from January 11 to 15 next year.

Kochi, a preferred venue for football’s ISL season-openers and for volleyball’s professional leagues in the last few years, will now also have a squad in the six-city basketball league and the Kolkata team, which was part of the INBL’s initial plans, has been dropped. Cuttack was also dropped as a venue.

“Some changes will be there sometimes. We are doing it depending on facilities and stadium availability,” K. Govindaraj, the president of the Basketball Federation of India, told The Hindu on Tuesday.

The other five teams in the INBL, which does not have foreign players in its inaugural edition, are Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai. There will be cash prizes for each round of the competition as well as the playoffs. The BFI had announced a total prize fund of over Rs. 50 lakh for the event earlier.

Muin Bek in Chennai team
Meanwhile Indian captain Muin Bek Hafeez, who led Tamil Nadu to the senior National title in Chennai in April, is the prominent face in the Chennai team which also includes international M. Arvind Kumar.

Chandigarh also has two India players, Amarendra Nayak and Sunil, and so does Bengaluru (Abhishek Gowda and Pratyanshu Tomar) while Delhi has three in Prashant Singh, Piyush Meena and Aryan. Kochi has one in Sejin Mathew. All these players were in action in the recent FIBA Asia’s World Cup qualifiers.

The players have been asked to report in Kochi on Wednesday for a pre-season camp, according to Rana Thaliyath, the coordinator of the INBL’s Kochi leg.

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