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Basketball: Swiss champions Lugano strengthen squad

Raga (right) attempts a block during his previous stint in Lugano. Keystone / Fabrice Coffrini

The current Swiss basketball champions, Lugano, have added another player to their already strong squad. Manuel Raga has signed from local rivals, Vacallo, just eight days after the Swiss international, Marco Sassella, made an identical move.

For Raga the transfer is something of a homecoming. The 27-year-old Mexican was on the Lugano roster just two years ago, prior to joining Vacallo. His name may also jog memories for long-term fans of the sport in Switzerland. His father, Manuel Raga senior, was one of the league’s top stars at the end of the 1970s.

The future is not looking particularly bright for Vacallo, who have also lost the services of Gary Grimes, Luca Mombelli and Harjs Mujezinovic. Despite a relatively successful season on the court, in which Vacallo won the Swiss Cup and reached the championship finals, the club have suffered from severe financial problems and were only just granted permission from the Swiss federation to stay in the league.

Lugano’s other league rivals will also see little to cheer in the the champions’ latest acquisitions, with many pundits expecting the Ticinese side to cruise to this year’s title. For Lugano themselves the emphasis this year is likely to be upon European competition. The club will be the first from Switzerland to compete in Europe’s biggest basketball competition, the Euroleague, which gets underway in September.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR