In September 2014, they didn’t even have a ball, let alone a kit. By mid-season, they were 5th in the league. This may only be its first official season as GD Lagoa, but the basketball team now wearing Lagoa’s municipal colours has actually been around for much longer. Already veterans on the country’s basketball scene, the players once formed the ACD Ferragudo team, and took the club the furthest it had ever been in the national tables. However, when internal restructuring saw the team paying increasing costs, the members had to rethink their position and, just 10 days before the registration cut-off point, the GD Lagoa senior I men’s basketball team was born. With many of the players having represented the Ferragudo team for years ­ some since childhood ­, it was no doubt a difficult decision, and one that hasn’t come cheaply. But with the commitment and hard work of the players, vital financial aid from a number of sponsors, and the support of Lagoa Câmara (who “never expected to have their own basketball team this year”, noted player and board member Sérgio Pastrana), the club is only just beginning its journey. Granted the use of the pavilion in Parchal and now headed up by Dário Valentim (sports director), Sérgio Pastrana 18 SPORT (responsible for the financial side/sponsorships) and Pedro Castanheiro (design and marketing), all of whom are also players, GD Lagoa Basquetebol already boasts more than 40 members, split between the senior team, Baby Basket and Mini Basket (both coordinated by Dário Lopes). Every Saturday from 10.30am, coaches Rita Martins, Pedro Castanheiro, Sergio Dumanskyy, André Marzagão and José Mendes teach the sport to children aged 3 to 6 in the Baby Basket and 6 to 12 in the Mini Basket, who play in gatherings with other clubs to also help nurture social development in a fun yet organised atmosphere. “We live in a very football-focused society and basketball is such a different sport,” says Sérgio Pastrana, whose son is taught by team-mate Pedro in the Baby Basket. “Boys and girls play together and the parents come to cheer them on. The kids love it when they try it for the first time!” But perhaps the most visible side of the club is the senior men’s team, coached by Dário Valentim and which comprises players aged 18 to late 30s, most of which are Portuguese but also of English, Cape Verdean, Ukrainian and even Spanish/Norwegian nationality. The colours may have changed but the team has remained, and their performance 19 2 SPORT is no less impressive. Now playing in the 1st division ­ the third tier of the sport in Portugal ­ and placed 5th of the 12 teams playing in the Zona Sul – Grupo B division, the team brandishing the hornet as its logo trains three times a week at the pavilion, and plays weekly during the season that runs from October to June. What the club has achieved so far is no small feat, not least because, as Sérgio is keen to emphasise, these are amateur players who receive no monetary compensation. “We are an amateur team. We pay to play while other teams in the division are paid to play. One of us is a bank manager, another a nurse, another a swimming teacher, we have families, personal lives… Everything we do is pro bono.”

As Pedro Castanheiro explains: “For us it’s a passion more than anything. We usually say we are a group of friends, each with their own lives, who come together to play basketball.” For this reason, the sponsors have been vital in securing a future for the club that started, quite literally, with nothing. Officially named GD Lagoa/CLUB NAU, other important local sponsors include Primavera restaurant, Slide & Splash and Podosaúde, but ongoing costs mean the club is constantly looking for more sponsors and those all-important donations. “This year has been about organising and establishing ourselves. The important thing now is to promote the club and create its own identity,” notes Sérgio who, at 1.98m, is the team’s tallest player. Having already hosted the first International GD Lagoa Basketball Championship last September with teams from Portugal and Spain ­ which they hope will become an annual event ­, the team’s main goal has been to promote the sport as a whole, with training sessions open to anyone who wants to join in. “It’s all in the name of camaraderie and friendship,” said the team-members. “We want to do everything we can to play and create a club for future generations.” For more information, please find G.d. Lagoa Basquetebol on Facebook.


Author: Inside Carvoeiro

Share This Post On