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Jun 23, 2022

U-16 Men’s National Basketball Team Coming Together

Several weeks ago, we showed you the tryouts by the Belize Basketball Federation as it searched for a new U-16 men’s national basketball team to compete in the World Cup of Basketball COCABA tournament in 2023. But to get there, the team would first have to qualify in regional games set for the first week of August. Today, News Five caught up with the team as they trained at the Civic Center in Belize City.


Duane Moody, Reporting

From one hundred youth athletes now down to fifteen – today, the future members of the U-sixteen men’s national basketball team gathered at the Belize City Civic Center where they are training five times weekly as they prepare for regional qualifying matches in August.


Jacob Leslie

Jacob Leslie, President, Belize Basketball Federation

“We cut it down to thirty and now we are at our top fifteen. We have three players who are Belizeans living abroad that are coming in; one of them are here today so right now we have sixteen. We intend to take this crowd up until the week of tournament and then we cut it down to twelve. Right now we are in our final preparations and we are working at about five times a week to get them geared up for it.”


The three Belizean athletes from overseas, who are joining the team, are: fifteen-year-olds Roger Flavela Junior, Mishak Flowers and Douglas Longford. Longford, who is six feet eight inches tall, was at today’s training session.


Douglas Longford

Douglas Longford, Basketball Athlete

“I am bringing big, big energy. It’s a privilege to be on this team with these guys. I will show them a couple of stuff that I am learning in the states, but it’s really a privilege and I am just bringing back that energy so we can go hard and get this championship. It’s been my first day, when I walked in everybody was like who’s this, who’s this big guy – they were scared; thought I was a coach. They figured out that I was fifteen and I was playing and then were like oh, they add somebody. But they didn’t know I played basketball abroad. Now they see me and how I am behaving with that energy, talking and just being loud being bold, being there, they are like it’s inspirational.”


Making the cut so far is Devin Moody. He says that training is intense, but is exactly what they need to improve their game.


Devin Moody

Devin Moody, Basketball Athlete

“To be honest, the training has been very intense. It can only go higher and it went higher. So I am very thankful for this opportunity.”


Duane Moody

“How has it been for you in terms of dealing with the five days a week training?”


Devin Moody

“Rest, rest is everything you need. Just keep yo mind strong and always ready for the next day.”


Bernie Tarr

Bernie Tarr, Coach, U-16 Men’s National Basketball Team

“The guys are really working hard. The coaches and I have been talking about how the attitudes have been unbelievable. It is a tribute to their parents and guardians. There is no bad attitudes here and it makes our job coaching a pleasure to work with guys that wanna get better.”


President of the Belize Basketball Federation wants the three days of regional matches to be played here in Belize.


Jacob Leslie

“Resources is always limited and so we’ve been trying to make due with what we have. We’ve been resourceful enough to make sure we give these kids the best opportunity, but some of these kids have to travel to come to practices, we have to accommodate that. We have coaches who are traveling for practices and we have to accommodate that. But all in all, these kids have developed a lot over the time period, the coaches have been very engaged with them and I’m looking forward to this tournament.”


I understand that a request has been made to see whether these games can be played here. Let’s talk about that.”


Jacob Leslie

“Yes, I think it is a wonderful opportunity for us as a country; I think it is a wonderful opportunity for these youths. So we officially made a request to COCABA to host these games in Belize August fourth to the seventh. We are hoping that we get a good response from them and that we are able to give these young people the ability to showcase their talents in front of a home crowd.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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