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Dec 22, 2021

Basketball Gear for Wagner’s Youth Facility and Belize Central Prison

The Belize Central Prison and the Wagner’s Youth Facility in Hattieville today received new basketball gear. The gifts came from the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, which has had significant levels of success in its own league championships in the pre-COVID era. News Five’s Marion Ali was on hand for the brief ceremony this morning.


Marion Ali, Reporting

The twenty-seven teenagers who reside at the Wagner’s Youth Facility in Hattieville now have new basketball gear to enjoy the sport through a generous donation by the Ahmadiyyah Muslim community. Today the head of that religious sect in Belize, Imam Naveed Mangla presented the facility with new basketball backboards, rims and basketballs. It was a donation that has been in the making for months.


Imam Naveed Mangla, President, Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at

Imam Naveed Mangla

“We came here a couple months ago and we offered to Mr Murillo that we would like to work together and (asked him to) tell us what different avenues that the Ahmadiyyah Muslim Jama’at and the Ahmadiyyah Basketball League can serve. So we looked at the boards and…We thought that this would be a good way to help the inmates here to do something positive.”


And basketball IS going to add to the options the youths now have to stay positively engaged. Kolbe Foundation’s CEO, Virgilio Murillo, is grateful for this first of its kind gesture.


Virgilio Murillo

Virgilio Murillo, CEO, Kolbe Foundation

“We’ve gotten donations for other things, particularly in sports, football. We’ve always been blessed with football equipment and clothing, so forth, but we’ve never had basketball and I think this was a very kind gesture on the part of Mr. Mangla and the Ahmadiyya group. We sincerely appreciate and I’m sure that we’re gonna put these little boys as well as the guys from the adult population – we’re going to keep them busy, keep them engaged in sports as one of those disciplines that will assist them in changing their lives altogether. Prison again, like I always say, is about order and discipline. Every prisoner who violates a rule, runs the risk of being charged and adjudicated and penalized for breaking those rules. So the sports does show them, I would say, a sportsmanship way of behaving.”


But sometimes it takes more than sportsmanship to proceed with the game. Commissioner of the Ahmadiyya Basketball League, Rodvern Lino, agrees that like everything else in life, it boils down to instilling discipline.


Rodvern Lino, Commissioner, Ahmadiyyah Muslim Jama’at

Rodvern Lino

“It is actually an avenue for them to express themselves or even their anger so they don’t get into other mischief and stuff like that.”


Marion Ali

“When you find that anger does take over on the court, how do you manage it?”


Rodvern Lino

“It is managed in several ways. As a coach, we call a timeout and we have them sit on the bench and we’ll have a little short conversation with them. Also, sometimes as a coach you can stop the game and so – then the referee has to call a technical foul.”


Imam Naveed Mangla

“It teaches you how to win, how to lose, leadership skills, most importantly, how to win after losing.”


Marion Ali reporting for News Five.


Along with the gears that were handed over today, the Ahmadiyya Muslim community is also offering the youths at the facility free basketball coaching lessons.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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