Teams eagerly await basketball return: Freeland says association will hold meeting on Friday

By Neto Baptiste

Basketball players, coaching staff, and even fans have been waiting anxiously for some time to find out when and how the sport will return from a competitive standpoint.

Hopefully the wait will end with the organization of a general assembly by the sport’s governing body here, the Antigua and Barbuda Basketball Association (ABBA), which is scheduled for Friday at the JSC basketball on Old Parham Road.

It’s the coach’s hope Michael Freelandwho said that according to a missive sent to the teams, Friday’s rally will address a number of issues, including association elections and a possible return to competition.

“They discuss elections, they discuss basketball operations and any other general issues that clubs may have brought to the executive that need to be addressed. I can’t say we would have received any communication regarding the rollout, but the communication is to have a general meeting on Friday and I guess from there we will have a rollout,” he said.

Freeland, who is the head coach and co-founder of the Stingers basketball team, said his players have been looking forward to the sport’s return for some time.

“Even in my own team the guys say we need competition because I asked them to try and keep some form of play. Whenever we can we do a little shoot-around but people are impatient. I think the [main] question really and truly comes down to a health component and I’m not sure how many members of the association are fully vaccinated and we all know that the Ministry of Health has indicated that with any competition we need to be fully vaccinated so it might be a challenge for us but I can tell you yes there is rush,” he said.

The coach, however, warned that even with the best-laid plans, they might not make a full return to competition.

“No matter how small, I don’t think anyone realistically thinks basketball will come back the first time with the league and how it was structured before. There has to be changes just because of what’s going on with this pandemic so from where I’m sitting my teams expect us to have a certain competition format but that’s pretty much what the format is Is it something just to get our juices flowing ? ” he said.

“I don’t think we want to have basketball without fans and you know the adrenaline when you have fans, so I think that all has to be taken into consideration,” Freeland added.

In April 2020, the association declared the domestic season null and void after the government suspended all competitions due to the spread of the Covid-19 virus. There has been no competitive basketball since then.

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