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#384596 - 07/27/10 02:37 AM Junior Cocaba Under 15 Championship Guatemala
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Junior Basketball Team Cries Foul

The under 15 junior basketball team is competing in Guatemala in the "Junior Cocaba Under 15 Championship", but we found out things aren't going as planned. Matthew Smiling, coach of the team, called in today on a morning show saying that conditions are so terrible , they're thinking about pulling out of the competition. We found out more.

Voice of Andrew Smiling, Coach

"I am not a person that complain a lot, but these condition that we are in, we cannot handle this. It is what I expect, it is not the place that we were staying the last 3 times before in Guatemala, It is not the same village. They have all the teams in one big room. Costa Rica, Salvador, Belize, Guatemala everybody is in one big room. Last night we didn't sleep at all. Team Guatemala and Costa Rica make noise all night. The 2 quite one are us and Salvador. I talk to the Salvador coach this morning and he say that if they don't move his team; he will not play. I spoke to the president last night and he was out of the country, he had an emergency, so he had to leave the country. He will try to contact the embassy here to see if the embassy can help us. We definitely can't handle this for a whole week. The thing I want to ask is where is the rest of BBF Executive? Everything is just thrown down in the president hands. We have 15 delegates who went to Santo Domingo with 12 players, when I land here in Guatemala, they are asking questions that I cannot answer. I am calling on one of the BBF Executive for one of them to come out here because they are things that we cannot answer to. I am not on that level, I am just a coach. They have a fine on Belize because we did not have any referee, I don't know anything about those things. I told them that I cannot answer that because I don't know."

"All of us have a job, I have mine and I made a sacrifice. These tournaments are not glamorous for them so they don't want to be a part of this. The boys here are all from the country of Belize. We really need help."

Mose Hyde, Host WUB
"I don't know why the BBF has to be chastise that a trip has left off and they have not sent at least one representative to deal with the official side of the interest that we are out there defending. I don't understand how they could have drop the ball as badly as they have."

Voice of Andrew Smiling, Coach
"The president was suppose to come but he had an emergency and he had to left the country."

Mose Hyde
"But it's not a one man thing. The Executive of the BBF is not a one man thing and so it's terribly disappointing to know, to find out this morning that they have drop the ball the way they have."

The team's first game was scheduled for today against Mexico, but last time we checked the Mexican team had not shown up. The games are scheduled to last about a week.

Live and let live

#384597 - 07/27/10 02:38 AM Re: Junior Cocaba Under 15 Championship Guatemala [Re: Short]
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Sports Council says game must go on

Seven News spoke with the Executive Director of the National Sports Council and he says - while the conditions are deplorable as it relates to the team's accommodations he doesn't believe that justifies a pullout from the tournament.

Emaun Hyde

"Can you tell me why didn't a member of the federation accompanied the basketball team?"

Anthony Michaels, National Sports Council
"I am not sure, I knew that Mr. Paul Thompson usually accompany as the president of the basketball federation. He usually accompany all the basketball teams, he did that in Cancun with our senior national team, he did it in the Dominica Republic and I knew he should have been there with the junior national team. What I have heard is that an emergency came up with him and he had to leave the country and I tried to get in touch with the general secretary Mr. Julian Murillo which I did this afternoon and he indicated that Mr. Paul Thompson should be arriving in Guatemala tomorrow."

Emaun Hyde
"This morning on KREM's WUB, Mr. Smiling call in and said that the conditions that the team were in was terrible, he said they even considering pulling out of the tournament. Can you give me a comment on that?"

Anthony Michaels
"I heard that this morning, this is not the responsibility of the national sports council. Its FIBA and the federation, but as a national sports council and these athletes are ambassadors in sports representing our country, I end up calling Mr. Andrew Smiling in Guatemala this afternoon and he indicated to me that there are 5 teams sharing a dormitory. The condition there that he indicated is not the best."

The tournament is expected to run through the week.

Live and let live

#384678 - 07/28/10 03:36 AM Re: Junior Cocaba Under 15 Championship Guatemala [Re: Short]
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Update on Cocaba Games

Last night we brought you the SOS call made by Matthew Smiling to the KREM Wake Up Belize talk show, yesterday morning. Smiling, the Coach of the Under 15 male Basketball team, presently in Guatemala for the COCABA under 15 Tournament, made the call to complain that the spartan accommodations provided the team was unacceptable. And, that the cement court the tournament was being played on did not meet the strict standards of FIBA, The International Basketball Federation. Jim McFadzean spoke with Smiling today by telephone to get an update on whether there's been any change in the team's situation.

Voice of Matthew Smiling, Coach

"There were a lot of mattresses taking up spaces in there. But since we complain, they remove most of the mattresses and have open the room itself and make it bigger, but we are still sharing the same room with 4 other countries. There is no privacy; it's just a big open room."

Jim McFadzean
"And have the conditions affected the moral of the team?"

Voice of Matthew Smiling, Coach
"I don't think that will. We are doing our best here to keep them mentally ready."

Jim McFadzean
"You threaten though that if conditions have not improve you had threaten to pull out."

Voice of Matthew Smiling, Coach
"Well Salvador beat us to the punch at the technical briefing. They were the first team to threaten the directors that if the condition didn't improve they were thinking about going back home. Salvador is consider one of the top teams. So I guess when Salvador spoke they listen."

Jim McFadzean
"You won your first schedule game by default. Why did Mexico not show up?"

Voice of Matthew Smiling, Coach
"Well I don't know. But I wasn't expecting them anyway because they are hosting the next tournament. So there is no need for them to qualify here. Because the host country definitely have to qualify."

Jim McFadzean
"What's the final word on Belize official representation from the Belize Basketball Federation?"

Voice of Matthew Smiling, Coach
"Well I spoke to Mr. Thompson yesterday and haven't spoken to him since he call, I think he is travelling today and should be arriving in Belize and coming up here tomorrow."

Belize is scheduled to play Costa Rica today, and will meet host team, Guatemala on the court on Thursday. The tournament ends this Saturday.

Live and let live

#384679 - 07/28/10 03:40 AM Re: Junior Cocaba Under 15 Championship Guatemala [Re: Short]
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Under-15 basketball players staying at substandard facility in Guatemala

A team of young basketball players are representing Belize in Guatemala at the Junior COCABA Under-15 games. So far the team has won a game against Mexico, but it is by default and they played Costa Rica this afternoon. But the young players and their coach are unsatisfied with the accommodation arrangements and the playing facilities. News Five spoke via phone, to coach Matthew Smiling, who says there have been a few improvements at the hotel since their arrival, but it is still way below FIBA standards. Smiling also told us that their complaints have fallen on deaf ears.

Via Phone: Matthew Smiling, Coach, Under-15 Basketball Team
“The main thing is the place that they are housing us, the accommodation. It’s one big room and four teams in it. There’s no privacy for us. The bath is not really acceptable. They did make some adjustments to the bathroom area but still. One of the teams, especially the Guatemalan team, they don’t really have no adults here at night with them so dehn dah di ones weh really mek wah lot ah noise. I had to get afta dehn last night myself. I mi think dehn wah kick mi out ah di place but I guess afta dat everything get quiet. We can’t understand how this is a FIBA sanctioned event. Basically this is a qualifier for another tournament and we are up in arms at how FIBA approved of this; one, the accommodations and two, the playing area. The playing area is a cement court and according to FIBA rules, you play on wooden court. Even the uprights of the rims are cement, the padding around it is not adequate. One of the Salvadoranian guys got hurt yesterday. Ih land up inna di upright and ih get wah knock pan ih shin because di padding is not right. We brought that up to the attention at the technical meeting before the game and still they did nothing about it.”

Delahnie Bain
“Have any of the other teams complained or are they just going with it?”

Via Phone: Matthew Smiling
“Yes, Salvador was the one making the most noise about it. They threatened to come out the competition.”

Delahnie Bain
“Are you and our team maybe considering that option too?”

Via Phone: Matthew Smiling
“Well, not at this point. One of our options also is to try to move the team. The only thing is the area where we are, we are at zone eleven and there’s no good hotel around here. 05:29:18 the better hotels are in zone twelve and zone four. Those are the better hotels but they are a bit far from here. If we could arrange transportation then we will look at that option.”

According to Smiling, they have been in contact with the Basketball Federation that has promised to report the matter to FIBA. You may recall, the football matches for the Central American and Caribbean Games were cancelled earlier this month because the accommodations and facilities did not meet minimum standards.

Live and let live

#384801 - 07/29/10 05:31 PM Re: Junior Cocaba Under 15 Championship Guatemala [Re: Short]
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Under-15 fifteen basketball team faces more difficulties in Guatemala

The under-fifteen basketball team that’s playing in the Junior COCABA games in Guatemala is not faring well. The team complained about accommodation difficulties at the open dorm. Matthew Smiling, the coach, told us via phone they are still not pleased. Smiling said the players missed more than twenty free throws and the game against Costa Rica did not end favorably.

Via Phone: Matthew Smiling, Coach, Under-15 Basketball Team

“We lost fifty-four to forty-nine.”

Delahnie Bain

“Have they played any other game since then?”

Via Phone: Matthew Smiling

“No, we haven’t. We’re playing tomorrow. We’re playing against El Salvador.”

Delahnie Bain

“Okay, and the conditions at the hotel, have there been any improvements?”

Via Phone: Matthew Smiling

“It has improved a bit but it’s still not up to standards.”

Delahnie Bain

“What have they changed?”

Via Phone: Matthew Smiling

“They put covers on the toilet and they tried to clean up the bathroom a bit. We were supposed to play Mexico on Monday and we played Costa Rica yesterday so today is our off day. We’re playing Salvador tomorrow and Guatemala on Friday.”

Delahnie Bain

“And what are your expectations for the rest of the tournament?”

Via Phone: Matthew Smiling

“Well, we’re hoping to win those two games so we can qualify.”

If the team qualifies to move on at the end of the Junior COCABA games, their next tournament is the Centro Basket.

Live and let live


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