Despite worries about sponsorship just a few weeks ago, a 12-member Guyanese basketball team will depart local shores today, heading to Colombia for the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) AmeriCup 2021 Pre-Qualifiers.
After an intense selection process, the Guyana Amateur Basketball Federation (GABF) arrived at a 12-man team that will represent the Golden Arrowhead in Tunja, Colombia. The team comprise a mixture of local and overseas-based talent.
The team have been drawn in Group B, along with hosts Colombia, Bolivia, and Paraguay, and will fight to finish in the top two in order to advance to the AmeriCup2021 qualifiers.
The Colombia-bound team read: Harold Adams, Travis Belgrave, Travis Burnette, Orlon Glasgow, Delroy James, Gordon James, Anthony Moe, Stanton Rose, Yonnick Tappin, Timothy Thompson, Shaine Webster and Kevon Wiggins. They will be accompanied by Head Coach Andrew Hercules, Assistant Coach Dennis Clarke and Manager Alex Graham.
If Guyana should advance to the AmeriCup 2021 qualifiers, they will find themselves in a greater competition pool, vying with countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, USA, Venezuela and the Virgin Islands. Two teams from Group A countries namely Antigua, The Bahamas, Belize, and Cuba will also have a chance to be a part of the AmeriCup Qualifiers.
Head Coach Hercules is confident that the best Guyana has to offer in the basketball arena was selected; as such, he spoke positively about the team’s prospects: “The only thing that stands between this Guyana basketball team and our dream is the will to try and the belief that it is actually possible. If we do that, we will be victorious.”
Meanwhile, GABF President Michael Singh made good on his promise to secure sponsorship. “With a short time allocated for us for funding and team preparation, the GABF Executive is proud to produce its best possible squad, featuring our local and overseas-based talent,” Singh said.
The sponsors include the Government of Guyana, through the National Sports Commission (NSC); Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson in his personal capacity, John Fernandes Limited, Alex Mendes, and NF Agriculture.
The recently-elected GABF President also spoke to the many positives that could be drawn from winning this tournament.
Singh added, “Victory in Colombia will solidify our grip on Caribbean basketball, allow us to focus on AmeriCup region, which is higher than [Caribbean Basketball Confederation] CBC basketball, as we join teams such as Dominican Republic and Bahamas, who do not play at CBC level.”
The AmeriCup 2021 Pre-Qualifiers will run from February 22-24, 2019.