By Neto Baptiste
Former head of the Antigua and Barbuda Basketball Association (ABBA), Daryll Matthew, said the country’s bronze medal run in the 2015 Central Basketball Championships (CBC) did not come cheap and that the feat had cost the association almost a quarter of a million dollars.
“We had sent the team to Tortola a week and a-half early for a training camp, so that means you’re paying hotel for 16 people for a week, you’re buying food, transportation and everything and so that tournament cost us almost $200,000, and that was the price of a bronze medal. A lot of the funding, we got some good support from government and some sponsors and so on, but a lot of that money came out of the pockets of executive members,” he said.
Antigua and Barbuda captured bronze at the CBC in 2015 when the tournament was held in the British Virgin Islands (BVI).
Antigua and Barbuda overcame an early 16-5 deficit, then overpowered the BVI and walked off with an 82-73 triumph in the bronze medal showdown.
Matthew, who was president of the association at that time, said the body was adamant that the team was going to be competitive.
“To get a team to the CBC championships which is a qualifier for Centro, it may cost you $120,000 or $100,000 to get your overseas-based players to cover the stipends, the airfare, to get your team to the actual destination preparation and all that. Airfare certainly is a big ticket item but if you want to compete you have to do more,” he said.
Matthew, now the country’s sports minister, also praised the efforts of the coaching staff, which was led by George Hughes.
“The coaching staff did a phenomenal job just keeping players motivated because you had players who played at different levels where some are professionals and some are amateurs and some have different work ethics and to be able to pull everyone together to be on the same page. Kurt Looby provided tremendous leadership because he is a guy that everybody respects,” the former basketball boss said.
It has been five years since Antigua and Barbuda’s bronze medal performance at the Caribbean championships.