Unlike the women’s basketball team who had already managed to secure funding well before the tournament, mid-way through this week, the men’s team were still falling well short their required goal of $25,000 per player, says CISNOC secretary general. Owen Lewis.
“We had had to do some negotiations to get them across the line,” said Lewis. “This included appealing their plight to the Federation International Basketball Association (FIBA) based in Switzerland. And asking the players themselves to self-fund the trip.”
“In the end we got an amount from each individual player. And FIBA agreed to meet the shortfall in flights and accommodation.”
He says not all the regular Cook Islands players could afford the amount needed and dropped out of contention.
“With only six players, the 5x5 tournament is going to be tough. They’re competitive, but they will have to work their socks off.”
He adds although the team is not highly ranked, it’s a great opportunity to for the players to improve their ranking.
Full credit to coach Williams, says Lewis. “He essentially made this happen. And we now look forward to some great performances on the court.
“And on behalf of CISNOC, our board and our minister, we are really pleased to have been able to work with Cook Islands Basketball Federation and George to achieve a positive result and look forward to seeing the guys perform. We wish them all the best at this event.”
The six-player 5x5 Men’s Basketball team representing the Cook Islands is: George Williams – coach, Brendan Heath, Charlie Hosking, Anthony Ikimotu, Geosah George, Benjamin Vakatini, Bede Marsters, Teokotai Akania.
- Chris Taylor