Following another challenging year for basketball, Vice-President of the Guyana Amateur Basketball Federation (GABF) Michael Singh, conducted an exclusive interview with Stabroek Sports on the objectives of 2018 and the accomplishments and challenges faced during the year concluded.
1.How would you describe 2017 from a developmental perspective for the sport of basketball?
2017 was a slow year. It started well with a silver medal in St Lucia, where our 3×3 U18 team did well. It shows when teams are privately funded as in the Colts Organization, they tend to be more prepared. This medal against strong opposition showed the calibre of players we have such as rising star Stanton Rose.
2.What were some of the major accomplishments realized during the period?
Winning silver at CBC U18 competition and the fact that basketball was played on various levels. We now have three female teams that have young stars as in Jada Mohan and Saffiya Green, whose fathers are currently active in local basketball. The third team is Kwakwani, that team can always field competitive teams. All other sub associations progressed steadily.
3.What were some of the disappointments and major challenges?
One factor we seem not to master is the fan support aspect. Games, except for Linden, continue to be poorly attended both by players and fans. Players watch games only when their team is scheduled to play. Others do not support events either at CASH (Cliff Anderson Sports Hall) or any other venue. The main teams to give support are Ravens, Pacesetters and Colts to a lesser extent. We, as a basketball community, need to pull fans both to the game and for the team base. Local players are more active in NBA ball than local games.
4.What will be the focus of 2018 for the GABF and what mechanisms will be put in place to grow the sport further?
2018 is all about fielding the best Caribbean Basketball Championship [CBC] senior teams scheduled for Suriname in June 2018. This is the perfect opportunity for local ballers to actually see the CBC in entirety. It would be an accomplishment to win both male and female and have at least 150 fans in the Dutch Republic flying the Golden Arrowhead in the stadium.
This final year in office will be about closing the term on a high and completing some of our major projects.
The President [Nigel Hinds] is working hard on making Burnham Court an indoor facility, items such as this in his manifesto will be focused on.
The GABF plans to continue assistance towards all the sub-associations who are responsible for planning and executing programmes nationally. What is currently the case, is that sub-associations are looking to the federation and asking what are we doing for basketball when it should be the other way around.
This final year we intend to help but we still require various sub-association plans and wish lists in moving forward this year. I know YBG [Youth Basketball Guyana] is active, so is GABA [Georgetown Amateur Basketball Association] and LABA [Linden Amateur Basketball Association]. BABA [Berbice Amateur Basketball Association] just had a boost with proper lights. So, it’s all about working together to make this year a successful one until we hand over power to a new executive in 2019 with something of a solid foundation.
5.How important is government and corporate support for basketball to realize many of its goals?
Training, encamping and fielding two senior teams will be a major financial undertaking. I can safely say the GABF has a great track record in making these trips a reality. The government and some corporate sponsors always help in many ways to make our trips possible. Home and away warm-up games will also be needed, these also carry a financial tag. We are looking at maybe trips to Trinidad and hosting a solid Caribbean team for warm up matches.