ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Antigua & Barbuda Netball Association (ABNA) President Fitz Braithwaite said the sport continues to struggle in part because some of the persons who should be involved in the rebuilding process are trying to demoralise the efforts of his executive.
Braithwaite makes the claim just as the association is looking to jump-start a knockout competition in hopes of reviving the annual netball league. The knockout was slated to commence on Monday night at YMCA Sports Complex.
“The executive members are not the problem because everybody is there and we have executive meetings regularly. But some people are undermining the association and some people are still telling people they are not playing and they should not play and things like that. But there are some people bigger than that, so we still have some people who are forming teams and playing,” he said.
“We had nine teams in the playoffs and if we had nine in the playoffs we feel we should get two or three more and I would be very great full to have 15 teams because we were in St Vincent and they only have four senior teams playing netball,” the president added.
The sports enthusiast, who was elected to lead the then almost dormant association two years ago, added that he deserves the backing of those that truly love the sport and want to see it progress as he had given his unwavering support to many past presidents before him.
“It doesn’t matter who is the leader because for all the years in netball, from since I was a little boy, I work with everybody starting from Miss Erma Matthew to Cybil Walling, Heather Nanton, Heather Bailey, Yvonne Willis. I worked with everybody and if I am just at the top at this time I think everybody should come and give me the best help that they can because I have worked with everybody and I am prepared to continue to work with whoever takes over when we have elections the next time,” he said.
Accused of being dictatorial in his style of leadership by one former executive member who resigned short following the elections, Braithwaite is still not convinced that his way of getting things done has perhaps served to keep the willing at bay.
“There were eight persons elected and one decided to move away from (my) leadership style. It doesn’t tell me enough and I don’t want to play netball or wash that particular linen in public. I would prefer not to say anything else on that,” he said.
“One person left out of the whole thing and I would leave that to the public to discern and see. If its one thing they would say I am a coward then I will be a coward on that. I am not going to touch that situation.”
Matches in the competition are slated to shoot off at 6:30 pm nightly and teams are asked to be on time.
Braithwaite recently returned from St Vincent with the national Under-16 squad where they were adjudged the most improved team in the development division of the Jean Pierre Under-16 Netball Tournament.