Local Basketballers miss golden opportunity
January 30th, 2002
By Donald Duff - Stabroek News, June 29, 2002
The best basketball players in the Caribbean, scouts from colleges in the United States and even Philadelphia 76ers NBA player Rajah Bell will be there but Guyana’s male and female basketball players will not get a chance to showcase their wares at the 2002 Caricom basketball championships in St Thomas, US Virgin Islands.
The inability of the Guyana Amateur Basketball Federation (GABF) to secure a flight to St Thomas from Antigua will prevent the local players from benefiting from the many opportunities that will abound at the championships.
According to reports the Guyana players are disappointed at the turn of events.
Four local players in the experienced Lugard Mohan, the exciting Andrew Ifill and up and coming stars Steve Neils Jr. and Bruce Davis were members of the team which comprised several overseas-based players.
For Ifill especially a chance to impress the scouts has been lost and he will have to wait another two years since the tournament is now held bi-annually.
The last of the three overseas-based players Stephen Nurse, Pierre Goddette and Dexter Martin departed yesterday morning at 5.30 a.m. for the US.
The three were members of the DC Jammers basketball team that played in a series of matches against the locals prior to the selection of the men’s team for the tournament.
The others had returned to the US and were awaiting the tickets that GABF officials planned to send to them in order for them to travel to St Thomas.
The team was scheduled to leave this morning but up to yesterday afternoon only a few players were at the Cummings Street camp.
And in another mix-up only male team members received visas.
According to reports, the female players did not get a chance to visit the US Embassy here to get their visas.
Guyana’s men’s team was grouped in Zone `A’ with St Kitts/Nevis, the Dominican Republic, defending champions Barbados, the Bahamas and Aruba. They were down to play the Bahamas tonight in their opening game.
The other group comprised the hosts, Antigua/Barbuda, Jamaica, Cuba and the British Virgin Islands.
The women’s competition was to be contested on a round robin basis with US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, Guyana and defending champions Barbados set to do battle.
The top three teams will qualify for the 2003 Central Basket tournament and other higher international competitions.