6 Andrew Johnson (GUY)
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Guyana's Hercules: ''The only thing standing between this team and our dream is the will to try it and believing it's possible''

GEORGETOWN — It took 36 years for Guyana’s men's national team to win a Caribbean Basketball Confederation (CBC) Championship. 2018 was, thus, a historic year for this South American franchise. This feat allowed one of their youngest talents, Stanton Rose, to get a scholarship to play collegiate basketball in the United States, in Jacksonville College. This showcases what a good international performance may do for the development of local athletes.

Now, in 2019, the Guyana Amateur Basketball Federation’s (GABF) continues to be centered in the process of elevating the level of their local basketball through the involvement of citizens in organized initiatives in every community.

Among these activities is the National Schools Basketball Festival, a school tournament that began in 2006 and that in this 2019 edition will be financed through private funds — a total of $1.5 million Guyanese dollars. Last year, a total of 42 teams participated in the competition that this year will welcome 48 squads divided into the U14, U16, U19 categories, and will also include a female branch.

Meanwhile, another one of the Federation’s subdivisions, the Georgetown Amateur Basketball Association (GABA) announced the celebration of the Knockout Tournament for the month of March. This is a seven-day competition for U23 players that will feature the participation of 11 first and second division teams.

The development efforts are extending throughout the nation. For example, in the Bartica region, the facilities of the Bartica Community Grounds were renovated. This is a multi-use complex that Guyana hopes will allow them to host larger and better competitions. This, according to one of their directives, is imperative for the performance and development of their youngest athletes.

“Providing more sports installations to the region foretells that our young athletes will improve. Good facilities stimulate our youth to get involved, and it's also a distraction from society’s negative aspects,” said the president of the local association, Kenneth Williams.

Although the Guyana national team fell short in their attempt to qualify to the FIBA AmeriCup 2021 after ending third, with a 2-1 record in the second leg of the Caribbean Pre-qualifiers, their technical team —particularly their coach, Andrew Hercules— are optimistic.

“The only thing standing in the way of this Guyana team and our dream is the will to try it and believing it's possible. If we do that, we’ll be victorious,” said the coach.