FIBA Africa Zone 5 Head of Marketing Bana Ali has passed on of Coronavirus related ailment.
FIBA Africa confirmed Ali’s death on its website as they described him as a dedicated Sports Manager.
“It’s with great sorrow that FIBA Africa confirms the passing of Bana Ali, Head of International Relations for Somali Basketball Federation and FIBA Africa Zone 5 Head of Marketing,” FIBA Africa said in a statement.
Ali was in Nairobi, Kenya in February during the FIBA AfroBasket 2021 Pre-Qualifiers.
He had managed to source for the Somali National Team sponsorship from money transfer company Taaj and Somali based telecommunications company Hormuud.
An Engineer by profession, Bana previously served as Somali Basketball Federation Secretary-General and was the man who in 2009 ensured Somalia’s return into international basketball first in the Pan Arab Basketball Federation and later in the FIBA Africa Zone 5 after decades of absence from the committees due to civil wars.
By the time of his death, he was working on a mission to have Somalia youth teams of boys and girls play in the forthcoming FIBA Under 18 Qualifiers.
FIBA Africa President Anibal Manave said: “Bana Ali has truly played a key role in the history of Somali and African basketball.
“He participated a lot to the growth of the game in Somalia and in Zone 5. On behalf of FIBA Africa and the African Basketball Family, I extend my sincere condolences to his family in Somalia and the United Kingdom.”
Ali served as a FIBA Africa Zone 5 Board Member from 2010-2014 covering up to 10 countries in East and Eastern Africa including Burundi, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.
FIBA Africa Zone 5 President El Hesham Hariri from Egypt said: “This is a great loss for Somalia basketball and the Zone 5 region. Ali was very serious, he pushed Somalia basketball to return to the African basketball family.”
The Head of the National Committee of Uganda, Mohamed Santur, said Somalia basketball had lost a true leader who sacrificed his time and money to take the country’s game to the next level.
“Even when things looked dim, he never gave up. He was an Engineer in the UK and he used his own money to see to it that Somali basketball returned to the top.
“He was someone who really loved basketball. He devoted his time and made sure that Somalia was always represented at all tournaments and meetings,” Santur said.
BY ODINDO AYIEKO