Sports

Basketball federation seeking funds for programs

In light of the recent revelation that they are cash strapped in their efforts to send The Bahamas’ senior men’s national basketball team to the second and third windows of the FIBA (International Basketball Federation) World Cup 2023 Americas Qualifiers, the Bahamas Basketball Federation (BBF) released a press statement yesterday, announcing that all efforts are geared toward an all-out fundraising drive to support all of their programs.

In the press statement, BBF President Eugene Horton said to his knowledge the federation has always maintained a working relationship with the Government of The Bahamas through the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, and he expects this time around to be no different.

The second window of the qualifiers is rapidly approaching, scheduled for the end of February. The Bahamas is set to face the US Virgin Islands (USVI) on February 26 and the Dominican Republic (DR) on February 27, both at the Palacio de los Deportes in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, in a “bubble” format to ensure the health and safety of all participants during the competition.

On Monday it was revealed that the federation is short of the $50-60,000 needed to send the team to the DR.

“We would like to inform the general public that The Bahamas’ Government (present and former) has always provided support for national teams’ participation in these world-class events… ,” the statement read. “Our organization is seeking the long-term viability of our development programs as well as support for our traveling teams, and as such require substantial financial backing. We are aware that we cannot depend solely on the government for this assistance. In this vein, we are sending outreach into our community of enthusiasts, players and supporters and seeking their aid.”

Horton said in the press statement that in order for the future of basketball in the country to thrive, they must be able to extend themselves not only to travel and events outside the country, but toward building youth capital as well.

“We are highlighting our needs at this time so that those of like minds and hearts can assist in funding a national development program to develop the future Jonquel Joneses, Buddy Hields, DeAndre Aytons, and Yolett McPhee-McCuins who are right here in our country on the playgrounds and parks as yet undiscovered,” the release stated. “If we are able to place ourselves in a secure position financially through fundraising, we not only intend to take part in the upcoming world cup qualifiers, but will also be able to invest in our future – developing our young players. What we do not wish to happen, however, is the dispersal of all funds outward, while leaving our young athletes robbed of our efforts.”

Horton said it is their intention to make a final decision in short order as it relates to the travel of the team to the world cup qualifiers – the final opportunity for Team Bahamas to qualify a men’s basketball team for the 2024 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. They are optimistic that they will obtain the required funding.

The Bahamas needs to finish in the top three of its group to move on to the second round of qualifiers – a group that includes Canada, the USVI and the DR. In the first window of the qualifiers, The Bahamas lost two games emphatically to Canada – 115-73 and 113-77.

“We implore all those who love the game as we do, to consider making an investment into all of our programs,” the release stated. “Players, both national and international, business partners and sponsors, entrepreneurs and fans, we need your support. Come and join us, as we plan for the long-term growth and sustainability of Bahamas Basketball.”

Platinum sponsorship for the team is listed at a one-time gift of $10,000 or $1,000 per month. Gold sponsorship is listed at $5,000.00 or $500 per month, silver packages can be obtained at $3,600 or $360 per month, and bronze sponsorship is being offered at $1,200 or $120 per month.

Horton is requesting for individual and corporate donors to get in touch with them through the e-mail address BBF.basketball@outlook.com as soon as possible, and work with them to improve the level of Bahamas Basketball globally. The Bahamas is listed at number 62 in the FIBA World Rankings presented by Nike, while the other countries in the group are ranked higher. Canada is at number 18, the DR is at number 20 and the USVI is ranked at number 54.

In the past four years, The Bahamas has struggled mightily against Canada, losing by an average of 37 points, but lost by an average of just nine points to the USVI and actually recorded a victory over the DR in their country during that span.

The top three teams from the group will advance to the second round of the qualifiers and will join other teams to create two six-team groups. 

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Sheldon Longley

Sheldon Longley joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2001 as a sports reporter. He was promoted to sports editor in 2008. Sheldon has an extensive background in sports reporting. He covered three Olympic Games and three world championships, along with multiple smaller regional and local games.

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