By Neto Baptiste
The Antigua and Barbuda Basketball Association (ABBA) is hoping that a new initiative by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) could provide the boost it needs in order to propel the women’s version of the game here.
General Secretary of the national association, Jennell Willette, made the disclosure while speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, adding that the local body has already gotten approval following an application process.
“In February or March, FIBA sent out a petition for national federations to apply for its initiative called ‘her world, her rules,’ and that is specifically geared towards female basketball development and so we submitted an application, our application was approved and we are now putting together a plan to fulfill that initiative,” she said.
“This initiative is designed primarily for female basketball, we have been approved, so over the next two to three months, we are just in the process of putting a committee together with past female basketball players to actually implement the programme,” she added.
Willette added however that the initiative would not be focused on the competition aspect of the game but would provide the means allowing the association to host camps and other programmes they are hoping will grab the attention of young potential ballers.
“What we are doing is taking females primarily under the age of 18 and we are doing programmes with them in terms of development programmes, drills, training programmes in terms of both theory and practical so we are going to work with the Ministry of Sports and the school programme, and we are going to rollout this initiative so this is primarily funded by FIBA and so, I think we need to have at least 50 girls,” the basketball GS said.
Women’s basketball has been non-existent at the association level for many years now. According to Willette however, coupled with the advent of the COVID 19 virus and the lack of funding, the body was not in a position to fully undertake the challenge of reviving the game.
She said also, that many young players had lost interest and gravitated to other sports.
“Whereas for men’s sports you could have 50 playing in football, 50 playing tennis, 50 playing basketball and 50 playing volleyball, with females you would have 50 [in total] playing [spread] across all these sports so the distribution is not the same as with men, so you could have players who play basketball that don’t have to play football or play tennis or play cricket, but with females they may have to play every single sport,” she said.
“Over time, their interest would gravitate towards one sport more than the other, like for instance netball, where a lot of our female basketballers, a lot of the younger ones, they play both netball and basketball and some of them may go as far as to play football as well, or maybe run track and field,” she added.
The programme is slated to start in September. The basketball association has also indicated that national competitions could restart in the last quarter of the year.