SEEMS NOT EVERYONE is on board with national teams going to camp.
Former national forward Andrew “Big Cat” Ifill has taken issue with the Barbados Amateur Basketball Association’s (BABA) decision to send both its under-16 trial squads to the National Sports Council’s (NSC) summer camp, arguing the players are basically being forced to pay to attend national practice.
The situation arose after the squads’ head coaches, Cosmo Edwards and Zahir Motara – both NSC coaches – and the BABA determined it was in both parties’ interest to have their trials at camp since most of the players were already registered there.
“I have no problem if they want them to go to camp because they can spend longer hours together there, or so they can avoid a long day of camp and then having to go to trials later but then the BABA should pay for the players or have the Sports Council waive the fee,” said Ifill.
“And then they’re telling them [the players] they have to go camp because practice is going to be during camp time and if they don’t go to practice then they can’t make the team.”
“So I have a problem with people paying to go to national trials because no one should ever have to because these players were the ones who were invited in the first place,” added Ifill, whose son is also in the boys’ trial squad.
It is not the first occasion that national teams have been registered at the popular summer camp, as the Barbados Football Association went a similar route with their boys’ junior team last year, while volleyball also has a squad in this year’s camp.
The registration fee for such national players is also reduced from the normal $120 rate per person to $60 for each child on the squad.
And this summer camp structure fits the cash-strapped BABA’s purposes ideally, says president Derrick Garrett, who believes his body needs to take advantage of the limited resources provided.
“The coaches are doing this free of cost because we aren’t paying them, so then I can’t see why the BABA should spend additional money on resources we don’t have,” reasoned Garrett.
“Right now to carry both teams is costing us $80 000 so if the parents can’t see $60 as an investment towards that then certain people are very short-sighted.
“The majority of the players would’ve been involved in the camp already anyway and it wouldn’t make any sense to have them at camp the whole day and then still have to look at training later, so we just utilized the camp,” Garrett said.
NSC camp director Adrian Donovan also saw no issue with the matter, saying the camp is always ready to facilitate junior teams while reasoning “that whoever is not happy with the situation should take it up with the BABA.”
Both the girls’ and boys’ teams are preparing to contest the Under-16 Centrobasket tournaments next month in Mexico and El Salvador respectively.