Sports is an excellent means for reaching young people in Ivory Coast. Neither the schools nor the cities have organized sports programs. Most children growing up in this country never have the opportunity to play organized sports.
Fifteen years ago, we opened the Emmanuel Basketball Center of Bingerville. The center has five teams: four of the boys teams are the Benjamins (10-11 years old), the Minimes (12-13 years old), the Cadets (14-15 years old), and the Juniors (16-17 years old). There is also one girls team.
Our center is a member of the Ivoirian Federation of Basketball, and we play in each season and tournament. Over the years, several of our teams have won the national championship for their age group. Some of our players have represented the Ivory Coast on their national teams.
More important is the fact that all of our players have completed the Source of Light Bible studies that they are required to do as a player in our center. As well, they have heard numerous messages preached at the center itself.
Every year, a prize is given to the player who did the best on those Bible studies. The players of our center have received a clear presentation of the Gospel on many occasions, and they have seen the Gospel lived in the life of our coach.