DESPITE facing some financial difficulties, president of the Guyana Amateur Basketball Federation (GABF) Nigel Hinds told Chronicle Sport that he intends to ensure that Guyana’s participation at the FIBA Centrobasket U17 tournament is trouble-free.
The Centrobasket U17 Championship will be played in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic from July 26 to 30 and will feature the participation of the National Teams from Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
Guyana were placed in Group ‘A’ of the tournament and will open their campaign against the Bahamas on July 26, followed by a clash with Puerto Rico on Thursday July 27 then close off their group-play against Mexico on July 28.
Teams will play in round-robin format for three days, after which, the best two teams from each group will advance to the next phase, where the first-place team of Group A will oppose the second-place in Group B and vice versa.
The winners of the semi-finals will advance to the ‘gold medal match’, while the losers will play for the bronze of the continental event. The top-three teams from the tournament will qualify to the FIBA U18 Americas Championship 2018, to be played in St Catharines, Canada, June 11-17, 2018.
“The GABF is very proud of the accomplishment of the team thus far and we’re happy with the exposure that they will receive by participating in the tournament,” Hinds said in an exclusive interview yesterday.
However, Hinds said that he’s disappointed by the response from the Government of Guyana and National Sports Commission (NSC) with regard to the support of the team.
GABF and NSC are at loggerheads over money owed when Guyana hosted the Caribbean Basketball Confederation (CBC) U16 Championships last year where the game’s local governing body had allegedly spent $7.8M on getting the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall ready for the tournament and other logistics.
To date, the Christopher Jones-led NSC had repaid $3.5M to the GABF, but Hinds said that he’s saddened by the entity’s reluctance to pay the balance of $4.3M.
Hinds, during the interview with Chronicle Sport, stated that it will cost the GABF approximately $6M to send the team to the Dominican Republic and while he insisted that the team will not be hampered in any way, “It’s not easy coming up with the money, especially knowing that we have money outstanding.”
The GABF president noted, “We’re reluctant to go to corporate Guyana and ask them for help, knowing the NSC has money for us. However, I must note that I intend to see this through. The guys will be properly prepared for the tournament and we’ll try our best to ensure that they have all that’s needed to do well in Santo Domingo.”
“This week, we’re going to take care of the balance we owe on the tickets for the team and like I said, I’ll ensure that everything is put on place for those boys to be comfortable and focused on the game and do us proud,” said Hinds.
The Lugard Mohan-coached team will depart for the Spanish-speaking Island on July 25, with Hinds being optimistic of a positive result.