By Neto Baptiste
President of the Antigua and Barbuda Basketball Association (ABBA), Kebra Nanton, has defended her executive against accusations that they were not proactive enough in trying to bring back competitive play during the now almost two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Nanton, during an interview with Observer media, labelled the public criticism as “unfortunate” while revealing that her executive had plans for competitive restarts every year since the government imposed suspensions in April of 2020.
“That’s unfortunate really if that’s the perception of the public because I think we are all living in the same country, and I think we are all seeing what is happening around us, and no one would have anticipated that there would be no basketball or even football and some of the other sports. It’s not like we didn’t have anything planned because we’ve had things planned since we actually cancelled the league. We had something planned for late 2020 when we thought we would have returned to normal. We had something planned for 2021 and we also had something planned for 2022, so a lot of it was out of our control,” she said.
The basketball boss who said she will not seek re-election when the body host its electoral congress in March, also sought to highlight that tremendous strides were made in her executive’s efforts to bring new programmes and initiatives on stream that would have in turn, impacted several key areas of the game.
“We did a few initiatives geared towards young girls in the sport. I think when we started making the push towards 3 on 3 basketball, I think we had two female teams probably back to back in 2019 and 2020, that represented Antigua and Barbuda in 3 on 3,” Nanton said.
“Later in 2020 we had two initiatives, one was called the Adelante programme which is a FIBA initiative geared towards getting more females into basketball, and the other initiative was geared towards girls 15 and under to get the interest back in the sport, and we had two projects scheduled that we wanted to do in 2021 but we were just not able to materialise them,” she added.
Nanton, who created history back in 2018 when she became the first woman to be elected head of the basketball association, however pointed to fact that there is still no national women’s league after almost four years in office as one of her biggest disappointments.
“For me, [my wish list] would be to have a proper female league going, and also to have some more work done on the facility along with more resources and continued and better partnership with the schools programme and I say this because we recognise that the development of the sport is going to be critical with those who have first contact with the kids in the schools which are coaches within the schools programme,” she said.
According to reports, Michael Freeland has made known his intention of vying for the top spot.