Sports — 05 February 2013
Kene not happy with National Cricket Team program; boycotts trip to Bahamas

A national cricket team is leaving Belize today for Nassau, Bahamas, where they will be representing Belize in the ICC Americas Division Two Tournament. (See press release elsewhere in this issue.) There are some of Belize’s best players on the team, and we wish them all the best in the competition; but, however well they do, we have a sinking feeling that Belize could have sent a stronger team. That is because there are no players from national champions Excellence of Double Head Cabbage travelling on the national team to Bahamas.

Not even Excellence’s young superstar bowler/batsman/fielder Kene Broaster, who reportedly attended the training sessions for the national team, is on today’s trip to the Bahamas.

New Belize National Cricket Association (BNCA) president Leroy Banner returned our call this afternoon, and explained that his committee has been trying to iron out the problems left behind from the last administration. Already, he has secured a check for the traditional cash prize of $1,500.00 for the 2012 national champions, Excellence; and the team trophies for the past season will be arriving during the course of the 2013 competition, which was scheduled to start this past weekend with a marathon. The marathon was cancelled due to the rains, and the regular season is now supposed to start this coming Saturday. He said we should be receiving the schedule for this week’s games by Thursday of this week, so we can have it in the weekend issue of Amandala.

However, all is still not well in cricket, as far as Excellence and, in particular, Kene Broaster is concerned.

First, Excellence captain Ian Broaster confided to us that his Excellence team had felt severely disrespected by the BNCA, because of the long delay in receiving their cash prize and trophy from last season. New president Leroy Banner is trying to make amends, but obviously it will take some time for the wounds to heal.

For his part, Leroy told us this afternoon that he thought all that was water under the bridge, and things are moving forward in cricket under his new administration. He noted that Excellence’s biggest star Kene Broaster did attend the recent national team workouts; although he was puzzled as to what personal reasons have kept Kene from “stepping up” to make the trip with the national team.

But when we spoke to Kene by phone this afternoon, he gave us another, and very telling side of the cricket conundrum.

Kene re-affirmed that he and all his Excellence teammates felt neglected and disrespected by the BNCA following the end of last season, where they had won the third game of a best-of-3 games championship series against Western Eagles of Rancho Dolores on August 5 of 2012. They are yet to receive their championship cash prize or trophies. But it is more than that which kept him from travelling with the national team. And it behooves the sports bureaucrats to take note, or Kene’s boycott of the Belize National Cricket Team will have all been in vain.

According to Kene, who has received numerous awards, including Best Fielder, in previous ICC Tournaments he has attended as a part of the Belize national team, players on the Belize national team are not treated with the respect they deserve as national team players. For those not in a strong financial position, it can sometimes be a real burden, he says. Imagine, players having to secure their own visas and pay departure tax out of their own pockets, when travelling with the national team. This has been the norm, he says. Moreover, while abroad representing Belize on the national cricket team, lodging is taken care of, but individual players must pay for their own meals; and nearing the end of tournaments, which usually last about a week, it often becomes burdensome for some players, and affects their performance. “If players don’t have peace of mind, they can’t perform to their best,” maintains Kene. He thinks the Belize national team could have long advanced from Division Two to Division One if the national team players were treated better. “I have travelled about six times already with the national team,” remarked Kene, “and it is no longer something that I look forward to, because of the shoddy treatment.”

We asked Kene if he would consider his refusal to travel with the National Team this year as a sort of boycott to try and get better conditions for the national team; and he wholeheartedly agreed. “I want to get the message out that our national team players need to be treated better, if we want to get the best performance for Belize,” he said.

We hope the new BNCA executive can take heed, and follow the example set recently in football, where quality treatment and respect to our national team players is a proven prerequisite for success against tough international competition. More than that, why should talented athletes aspire to the national team, if their efforts and excellence will be rewarded with disrespect and financial embarrassment? This is food for thought for our sports bureaucrats, government and the business community.

Nevertheless, cricket fans at home need not despair, where the upcoming 2013 BNCA Annual Harrison Parks National Cricket Competition is concerned. Kene, Ian and the rest of the Excellence crew will be defending their national title.

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