“The redemption of children through sport, a look into the future where…

by Giovanni Romano

The idea of ​​Coast to Costa comes from the idea of ​​two Sienese friends, Emiliano Cottini and Filippo Amari

“The basketball it is the only sport which tends towards the sky. That’s why it’s a revolution for those who are used to always looking at the ground”. Are these words of Bill RussellNBA legend of the 60s and 70s, who inspired the launch of the project coast to coast. This is a crowdfunding campaign promoted by Abel Group (asbl founded and chaired by Don Luigi Ciotti in Turin) and by Abel community (International Cooperation Project of the Abel Group in Africa) to provide the sport of redemption perfect for children of Grand Bassam, a city of about 90,000 inhabitants located just under 50 km from Abidjan, the capital of Ivory Coast. Partners of the project, two Sienese realities, the Mens Sana Basketball Academy and the Corte dei Miracoli association, and the idea of ​​two friends, Emiliano Cottini and Filippo Amari, employees in a pharmaceutical company and coach of the young people of Mens Sana who is just back from Ivory Coast.

Filippo, how did the idea of ​​bringing basketball to Grand Bassam come about?
“I traveled a lot for work until the shutdown imposed by the pandemic: a change that led me to reflect on the impact of our actions on the lives of others. I thought that my passion for basketball could also be shared beyond the walls of my city, Siena, to help younger people look up, see life in a different light”.

Philip Amari

Filippo Amari with the children of Grand Bassam, Ivory Coast

Filippo, how did the idea of ​​bringing basketball to Grand Bassam come about?
“I traveled a lot for work until the shutdown imposed by the pandemic: a change that led me to reflect on the impact of our actions on the lives of others. I thought that my passion for basketball could also be shared beyond the walls of my city, Siena, to help younger people look up, see life in a different light”.

Why did you choose Ivory Coast?
“I spoke about it with my friend Emiliano Cottini, representative of the international sector of Free. The idea was born to create a basketball school in Grand Bassam, within the Abel Community, which for 35 years has been active in literacy, the fight against discrimination and trafficking, vocational training, we We collaborate with NGOs and local associations”.

ivorian basketball girl

An Ivorian playing basketball. The first basketball camp in Grand Bassam will start next year thanks to crowdfunding

What is the project about? coast to coast?
coast to coast wants to promote the game of basketball in Grand Bassam as a tool for education, aggregation and access to sport for young people of both sexes, through the construction of play and learning spaces. Where everything seems to be a privilege. We want to bring them what some might consider entertainment: a challenge that is an additional brick of rights and that wants to generate relationships, education, body care through sport”.

Why did you choose this name?
“In basketball, the term cside by side identifies the action in which the player dribbles from one side of the field to the other while doing everything possible to score for his team. We mixed it with Ivory Coast and that’s how it was born coast to coast“.

What are the steps for the realization of the basketball camp?
“The objective is to raise 8,000 euros to buy equipment, set up structures, pay the coaches who will manage, next summer, the first two-week basketball camp open to all girls and boys. Ivorians and give them the opportunity to experience a different competition from what often only forces them to fight against the quirks of life.We expect the participation of at least 50 boys and girls per day for a total of 600 young people. The idea is to set up a real sports club in 2023”.

How can you contribute to the project?
“The campaign, active on the Gofundme platform since mid-February, exceeded 4,000 euros and will close with a double public event in Siena on Saturday April 9. It starts at 11 a.m., with a press conference at the headquarters of the Autonomous Press Group of Siena, which supports us, and then there will be a fundraising social lunch at the Orto de ‘Pecci (via Porta Giustizia 39). Anyone wishing to know more can find information and contacts on Facebook, on the page coast to coast“.

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