Federation Focus: Portugal

01 October 2012

The history of basketball in Portugal dates back to 1913, when the sport was introduced by Rodolfo Horney, a physical education teacher who came to work in Lisbon. The first interregional competition was held in 1922 between Lisbon, Oporto and the eventual winner Coimbra. Five years later, on 17 August 1927, the Portuguese Basketball Federation (Federação Portuguesa de Basquetebol/FPB) was founded in Oporto. In 1934 the Federation moved to new headquarters in capital Lisbon, where it is located to this day.

Headquarters of the Portuguese Basketball Federation
Headquarters of the Portuguese Basketball Federation in Lisbon

Portugal was one of eight countries to have founded the Fédération Internationale de Basketball Amateur, FIBA. On 18 June 1932, Switzerland, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Portugal, Romania, and Argentina signed the founding act, wishing to unify the rules and to meet the fast development of the sport of basketball.

Portugal's men's national team made their debut in 1931, competing against France in a friendly game. One year later, the first national championship was played, with Sport Clube Conimbrincense being crowned the first Portuguese men's basketball champions, while the first women's basketball game was played in 1934.

The European Championship for Men in 1951 was the first international competition Portugal participated in, finishing 15th out of 18 teams. After a 66-year long drought, the Portuguese again took part in a EuroBasket Final Round in 2007. The team surpassed the preliminary stage and captured ninth place in the final standings. It was a unique accomplishment in the history of Portuguese basketball and the best performance ever by a Portuguese senior national team.

On youth level, the U16 men's team was the first to get promoted to Division A after reaching the Final of the 2005 U16 European Championship Division B. The U20 women and the U18 women followed the example, winning promotion for the first time in 2011 and 2012, respectively.

Youth Basketball Festival in Albufeira, Portugal, 2012
Youth Basketball Festival in Albufeira 2012

FPB casts a special eye on the youth and the future of basketball in the country. Every year it organises the largest youth basketball event in the country, called Festa do Basquetebol Juvenil (Youth Basketball Festival). The event was established in 2007, bringing together almost 1,000 players, male and female, from U14 and U16 regional teams. Over four days, the local streets are filled with players, family members, coaches, referees and basketball fans.

The Federation takes pride in Ticha Penicheiro, the first Portuguese player to enter the WNBA. Penicheiro joined the Sacramento Monarchs as a rookie in 1999 and finished third in the voting for WNBA Rookie of the Year. She was named All Star four times and twice tied the WNBA record for assists in a game with 16. In 2001, she was selected as a member of the WNBA's Second Team.

Penicheiro is the all-time WNBA leader in assists and holds the record for most steals in a game with 10. In 2005 she helped the Sacramento Monarchs win their first ever WNBA championship.
Penicheiro also played for the Los Angeles Sparks and the Chicago Sky. In 2011, her second year with the Sparks, fans voted her among the Top 15 players in the fifteen-year history of the WNBA. This summer, she announced her retirement from basketball.


The staff of the Portuguese Basketball Federation
The staff of the Portuguese Basketball Federation


Date of foundation: 17 August 1927
President: Mário Saldanha
Secretary General: João Carvalho

Registered players:
- U18 Men: 1,403
- U18 Women: 1,087
- Senior Men: 1,800
- Senior Women: 583
Non-registered players:
- Juniors: approximately 2,000
- Seniors: approximately 1,500
Registered clubs: 252
Registered coaches: 1,200


2005 U16 European Championship Men Division B in Botevgrad, Pravetz (Bulgaria): 2nd place
2010 U16 European Championship Women Division B in Skopje (F.Y.R. of Macedonia): 3rd place
2011 U20 European Championship Women Division B in Ohrid (F.Y.R. of Macedonia): 2nd place
2012 U18 European Championship Women Division B in Strumica (F.Y.R. of Macedonia): 3rd place



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