Ukraine to sport Kaohsiung Steelers logo at FIBA World Cup qualifiers

06/27/2022 03:13 PM
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Ukraine
Ukraine's men's national basketball team. Photo courtesy of the Kaohsiung Steelers

Taipei, June 27 (CNA) Ukraine's men's national basketball team will wear the logo of Taiwan's professional basketball club, Kaohsiung Steelers, in its upcoming games in early July at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 European qualifiers, according to the Steelers.

The Ukrainian team will wear the Kaohsiung Steelers logo on the left front side of their basketball shorts when they play against Georgia at Arena Riga in Latvia on July 1 and North Macedonia at the Boris Trajkovski Sports Center in Skopje, North Macedonia on July 4, the Steelers said in a statement on Sunday.

The move is a gesture by the Ukrainian team to thank Taiwan and Taiwanese people for lending a hand to the team in its time of need, the Steelers said.

Photo courtesy of the Kaohsiung Steelers
Photo courtesy of the Kaohsiung Steelers

The Taiwanese team invited and hosted a delegation of four people of the Ukrainian men's national basketball team, led by team manager Andrii Lebediev, in Taiwan between April 5 and May 17 to facilitate professional exchanges between the two teams on sports club management and training.

The Ukrainian team was competing in the FIBA World Cup European qualifiers in Spain and played against Spain in Córdoba on Feb. 24, when their country was invaded by Russia.

The team then traveled to Latvia, the home country of its coach Ainars Bagatskis, and stayed there.

During Lebediev's visit to Taiwan, he said at a press conference on April 30 in Kaohsiung that he hoped to bring 14 players to Taiwan to train for games in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 European qualifying tournament.

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Ukraine's men's national basketball team (in blue). Photo courtesy of the Kaohsiung Steelers

Lebediev said that bringing the team to Taiwan will help his players get a small respite from the constant stress they have faced over Russia's invasion of their country.

However, Taiwan's Chinese Taipei Basketball Association asked that the team visit Taiwan in early August to play in the William Jones cup, which was canceled the past two years because of challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Kaohsiung Steelers are one of two expansion teams in the 2021-2022 season of Taiwan's professional basketball league P. LEAGUE+.

(By William Yen)

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