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Man who Brought Basketball to Somalia Succumbs to COVID-19

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Bana Abdalla Ali, who tirelessly championed basketball in Somalia and promoted sports among youngsters in a nation beset by civil war, died on April 28 in London. He was 54. His death came after he had contracted the novel coronavirus, his family said. Mr. Ali had been treated at the Royal Free Hospital in London for almost a month. Mr. Ali garnered prominence for being a vocal supporter of basketball in Somalia, investing not only his free time but also his own money to ensure the country’s players had their chance on the international stage. A basketball enthusiast and a well-known player in Mogadishu before Somalia’s civil war began, he at various points over the years served as both the secretary general and head of marketing for Somalia’s national basketball team and was also a member of the East and Central Africa’s Inter City Basketball Committee. Somalia’s civil war severely damaged sports infrastructure, and religious extremists also banned women from participating in sports. But as the country has moved toward peace in recent years, many sports, including basketball, have been revived with teams of men and women practicing and playing in courts guarded by government forces.

SOURCE: THE NEW YORK TIMES

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