Robert Bailey, Gleaner Writer
With over a month gone in this year's National Women Super League competition, the Jamaica Basketball Association (JaBA) is yet to secure a title sponsor for the tournament. Marland Nattie, general secretary of JaBA, told The Gleaner in an interview that he is saddened by the fact that they haven't been able to secure a sponsor for the country's top female basketball competition. "We are very disappointed," said Nattie regarding the lack of sponsorship.
"We understand that sponsorship dollars is hard to come by, and with the fact that this is a female sport, maybe, are the reasons why we are yet to secure a main sponsor for the league.
"We are also disappointed because of the fact that our ladies have been doing well on the international stage and we certainly want to continue to use this league to help them to secure scholarships overseas," Nattie explained.
"We are very desperate for a sponsor for the league because we want to ensure that we give our females a chance to compete."
Nattie said it usually takes between $600,000-$1 million to fund the competition, which will run for three months, noting that his association has managed to raise a small portion of this amount.
"We have secured $100,000. But this is a drop in the bucket because this money will go towards just the rental of the venue, which is $200,000, and so, we still need another $100,000," Nattie outlined of the competition, which has attracted the island's best female basketball players, including past and present nationals.
"We are still very optimistic that we will be able to secure a main sponsor for the league because the games have been very competitive and close, and these ladies are very talented basketball players," he said.
"We are trying to find people to make contributions and this money will be welcomed by my organisation, and we will recognise these people officially," Nattie said.
Nattie pointed out that despite his association's failure to secure a main sponsor for the league, the standard of the competition has been very high this season.
"The females would want to have the glimmer and glamour, but they also want the opportunity to play and compete, and so, this has been their main focus," said Nattie.
"This league has provided the players with an opportunity to sharpen their skills and it also gives young players an opportunity to play basketball and improve their abilities," Nattie reasoned.