GB to host Flag Football Nationals
By Andrew Coakley
FN Sports Editor
The Bahamas Amateur Flag Football Association (BAFF) is preparing to host its annual National championships during the August Monday holiday.
Although the championship is really a grudge match between teams out of Nassau and teams out of Grand Bahama, executives of the Association are impressed with the fact that the sport of flag football is a growing sport in The Bahamas.
So much so, that president of the senior league in Grand Bahama, Standford Duhaney said that plans are underway to introduce the sport at the senior level throughout the islands.
"There is presently a junior program in?Abaco and Bimini, but what we want to do is set up a senior league there so that they will become a part of the national championship," said Duhaney on Saturday, during a regular season game at the GB Sports Complex.
"This league here in Grand Bahama is still a young league, but we're seeing growth and we want to take this sport throughout The Bahamas."
Nassau are the defending champs of the championships between the two islands and are looking to return to Grand Bahama and defend their title. Some five teams are expected from Nassau, inclusive of three female teams.
Last year, the young Grand Bahamian female team gave Nassau a run for their money, but were unsuccessful in clin-ching the trophy.
Duhaney believes that since the local female teams have grown in the knowledge of the game, they will be much more competitive this time around than they were last season.
As for the men, Duhaney says that the Spartans out of Nassau will be coming to town with a chip on their shoulder, and with plans to return home with their trophy.
Grand Bahama will field four men's teams and two female teams.
"No doubt this is going to be extremely competive and the good thing about this season is that our teams have grown since the last time Nassau met us and they may be surprised if they think that they will be playing the same team they played last season,:" said Duhaney.
"I like what we're seeing with the growth of this sport here in Grand Bahama and we want to continue that trend.
"Not just growth in the number of teams playing in the league, but we want to grow in terms of becoming more familar with the rules of the game and have more knowledge of the game.
"Our ladies teams have improved tremendously and we will give them the fight of their lives when they come here."
Duhaney said that the level of flag football in The Bahamas can only go to a higher level with continued inter-island play similar to the one soming up in August.
That's why he's pushing to have even more islands become involved in the sport at the senior level.
Of course, Duhaney believes that the foundation of any sport is the children and the youth, therefore, he's encouraging the junior league in Abaco and Bimini to continue, while at the same time, looking to start up more junior leagues in the other Family Islands.
Following the August tournament, Duhaney and the Grand Bahama teams will travel to Nassau in October to compete in another tournament, which will have more of a Caribbean flavour, with one or two other Caribbean islands expected to play in that tournament.
"Ironically, we haven't lost that tournament which features the Caribbean islands, so we're looking to do well in that tournament come October," added Duhaney.
"To have other Caribbean islands come in is an indication of just how much this sport of flag football is played on an international level.
So, if we can fully develop our league here in Grand Bahama and extend to our Family Islands and put in place strong kids and junior league, The Bahamas can be represented on the international level in this sport of flag football."
The regular season for flag here in Grand Bahama will end just before the August tournament and following the tournament, the league will go into play-offs and championships. There are presently nine mens and two womens teams playing in the Grand Bahama league.
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