The FIBA Europe League All Star Day moves to Cyprus this year where it will be hosted by EKA Lemesos.
Guided by club President Michael Loizides, the current Cypriot champions will organise the All Star Day at the 6,000 seat Eleftheria Stadium in Nicosia.
“I want to bring this event to Cyprus because our country needs a little bit of a basketball boost and we are making a very big effort, the federation and the clubs to bring the families back,” says Loizides.
|Kiev provided top notch entertainment in 2004|
“And I think an event like this is targeted towards the families. So that was the main reason, we wanted to do something for basketball.”
Last year’s All Star Day in Kiev, Ukraine was hailed a resounding success. Not only for the standard of basketball on the court, but the level of entertainment, headlined by the appearance of Boney M and Russian star Meladze.
Loizides was in Kiev for the game, and his first ever all-star experience left an impression.
“Coming back from the all star game on the plane with a reporter we took with us I said, I will try next year to bring this all star day to Cyprus. It was entertaining, it was spectacular and there was a nice feeling about the event; and I think all this encapsulates basketball,” he says.
Lemesos have a big task ahead of them if they are to live up to last year’s entertainment extravaganza, but they have plenty of plans of their own.
“We want to have top class entertainment combined with top class basketball entertainment,” says Loizides.
“What we want to achieve for the 3 hours or so that the show lasts, is to have people glued to their seats, to offer them the best of European basketball.”
And the main goal?
“We hope that we make thousands of new basketball lovers after this event.”
Cyprus is certainly not known for hosting major international sports events, a fact which Loizides clearly recognises. But not only does he see the All-Star Day as a logistical challenge, but a potential springboard for Cyprus’ involvement in future events.
“I think it’s a declared policy by our Cyprus Athletic Organisation to organise some top events in Cyprus. I think we will be looking for the Mediterranean Games to be in Cyprus and I think this is a good test to see our degree of readiness.”
As for the logistical challenges, Loizides is sanguine about how to tackle any potential problems.
“Well, I say that if you don’t understand something you go to the experts and that is exactly what we did. We have a Cypriot sports management team who are helping a lot with the organisation of this event. We have a company that specialize in organising concerts, again they are on board.
It is not a territory that is chartered for us but every day that passes, we are becoming more and more ready and I think we are already 6 weeks away from the event but most of the things, details we have worked out already.”