Last year August in CANCUN, that city came alive when the Belizean drums arrived to cheer on our men's national basketball team.
Team Belize with Milton Palacio, Marlon Garnett and Alex Carcamo earned silver and the respect of the entire region.
But that feel good moment is passed and now the Belize Basketball Federation says it won't go to COCABA this year. President Paul Thompson told us why:
Paul Thompson, President of Belize Basketball Federation
"We will fore-go the men's COCABA Championships this year because we want to focus on our younger categories of national teams. We believe this direction to develope and build our younger players is a direction that the Federation wants to go. Financing the Men's National Team is a monumental task; we're talking about anywhere over a $100,000 whenever you move for the Men's National Team. We've spent, I would say, close to a half-a-million dollars since 2009 and 2010 on the Men's National Team. Now that's a lot of money, and what we get is a week; we feel good about it and then things move on. At this time, we believe that those funds will be best used for developing our young players and trying to go to the direction where we have the formula of more home-grown than our international-based players."
"Do you think that it was a misguided choice to have persued that at such great costs?"
"At that moment, we thought that it was the best route to go."
"However if you look at it, you spent half-a-million dollars, and we don't have a decent basketball court."
"Well this is true, and we would hope that we hear news of the Civic Center being retro-fitted through the Mexican Government. We are hopeful of that. Prior to making this decision, I personally spoke to Milton Palacio, who said that he thinks that he made his run, and he won't be continuing, so that the decision. He know about it; he knew that this would have been his decision from a long time."
"Obviously the elation associated with the COCABA performance in August of 2009, was a shot in the arm for basketball in this country. Was it a hard choice to say, 'Okay, scrap that. Let's look at something more fundamental, more long-term'?"
"Not at all, the run that we made in 2009 - I thought we made a good run - it was an easy decision for us in the federation and in talking to the member association representatives because, starting out in our strategic plan, the focus is on developing. We believe that we have the talent here. This is a long term decision, and we see that this is the only way that we can reach where we want to reach. We want to have an impact here at home; we know the situation and we don't have to explain what is going on in our city."
During the Federation's current executive tenure, Belize has earned silver at COCABA in the men's and under 15 competitions.
And proof of that building from the youths up will be on proud display this weekend when the national tournament for the under 15 and under 17 tournaments are played in Orange Walk Town.
Over 70 teams nationally participated in the Telemedia National u 15 and u - 17 tournament.