By Edison Jefford
Quoting from playwright Howard Zinn, President of the Guyana Amateur Basketball Federation (GABF), Nigel Hinds, stated that compassion, sacrifice, courage and kindness were the pillars of Guyana’s participation at the recently-concluded Caribbean Basketball Confederation (CBC) Championships in the British Virgin Islands.
Hinds’ statement was released to the media via email. “We always felt that small things would make great things happen, though it was not perfect, we accomplished what I considered a marvelous victory by having both of Guyana Men’s and Women’s Teams here in Tortola, BVI, participating in the Championships; paraphrasing Zinn: compassion, sacrifice, courage and kindness were our pillars,” Hinds said.
Zinn noted the following in his 2004 documentary called: ‘You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train’: “To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage and kindness.” Hinds referenced the quote in his statement.
He said that he has embraced Zinn’s philosophy in an effort to have Guyana’s Male and Female Teams represented at the 2014 CBC Championships, albeit, in an environment that he believes was not conducive to source funds for the teams.
Guyana’s male team finished fifth of eight contestants and the females finished eighth of eighth contestants. Hinds informed that due to her presence at the competition, Guyana’s 18-year-old 6’5” Centre, Ginelle Ifill was approached for a scholarship offer in New Jersey.
Continuing to note some of the positive highlights from Guyana’s participation, Hinds said that some of the Guyanese male players had outstanding performances. He thought that Coach Mark Agard used his affable personality to handle the team with excellence.
However, he believes that the one of the greatest hindrances to further success for Guyana at the CBC Championships was “FIBA errant ruling on player eligibility”. The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) had ruled that Guyana could not have more than one naturalised player on its roster.
Guyanese forward, Gordon Klaiber, who plays in Japan, was treated as a naturalised player when he was in possession of a Guyanese birth certificate. However, FIBA then enforced a rule that suggests that to be eligible to represent a particular country; players must claim their nationality via possession of that country’s passport before reaching the age of 16 years.
The issue forced Guyana to truncate its roster by excluding about five overseas-based players. It created some administrative issues for Guyana with CBC threatening to ban Guyana after Hinds had stood in solidarity with the protesting Guyanese players.
“…our first game was disrupted and this carried over into a first game loss; barring the foregoing Guyana Men’s Team would have at a minimum been in the Final Four,” Hinds believes, adding, however, that his administration will not be distracted.
He thanked Patrick Haynes, DC Jammers, Office of the President, Guyana Olympic Association, Windjammer Hotel, GT&T, Republic Bank, John Fernandes Limited and Ansa McAl, among other sponsors, numerous online donors, and Guyanese for supporting the team. Hinds disclosed that the focus now will be on youth ahead of the 2015 CBC Championships.
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