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Confusion in basketball camp


A pungent smell of disunity is permeating the air of the local basketball fraternity.

Evidence of this are the statements, overtures and innuendos made in the local media by members of the current executive of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Basketball Federation and persons who claim they are close to the sport.

At the heart of the discord is the issue of the job of coach for this country’s senior national male team to the Caribbean championships set for Jamaica in June.{{more}}

Alrick Wright was appointed director of the National Men’s Programme, and subsequently began taking the players through their paces. Since his appointment, Grenadian Naka Joseph and American Mike Mc Conathy have had stints with the training squad, with the former likely to upstage Wright at the helm.

Both men have close association with two of the major officers in the federation’s executive, so therein lies the problem. And, the timing of the two coaches’ involvement with the team shows skilful maneuvering.

One would have expected that having gone through the rancour of the elections earlier this year things would have been back to normal and the business of basketball put as priority. Instead the wounds created have festered causing the stench.

Persons seemed bent on getting his/her pound of flesh and scoring points over the other. It was expected to be a difficult course for Wayne Williams as president of the local body, since he had won the post by a single vote.

This malignant cancer of bringing organisations’ business and disagreements in the public domain is fast spreading among sporting bodies across the state, and basketball has caught the infection.

It is ironic that the sport has to go through this mire. The achievements of our overseasbased players, namely Sophia Young on the US collegiate circuit and Sancho Lyttle and Adonal Foyle in the WNBA and the NBA respectively, and many others at the US colleges are enough impetus to get the administrative arm here to be more visionary and steadfast in its operations. The sport like any other body has teething problems. A confluence of circumstances saw no national male competition held last year and the uncertainty of a 2006 competition looms with each passing day.

While there was neither a national competition nor the regular community competitions, the Bequia tournament goes on each year successfully and with a high level of administrative competence.

It is sad that while the nation’s hopefuls are preparing for regional competition, with the anticipation of a crack at the Centro tournament in Panama in July, no one seems to have the bearings right to achieve the mental preparedness necessary for a championship of this magnitude. The players are the pawns in the chess game played by the administrators as they are embroiled in the controversy.

The iniquitous culture of chopping and changing executives every “Monday morning” because of personality differences and chauvinism do little for the advancement of the respective sporting bodies.

Several opportunities – academic, economic and upward social mobility – are afforded our young sportsmen and women, especially our basketballers. They gripe in agony as those vested with the leadership continue to trudge along rudderless, while others in the Caribbean surpass us. The fact that this country has achieved much with our little resources, is testimony of what we can do if everyone operates in unison.