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Nattie hoping to make the difference at Majesty Gardens
Robert Bailey, Gleaner Writer
"With hard work, discipline and dedication, this team can achieve a lot this season."
These are the words of former president of the Jamaica Amateur Basketball Association (JABA), Marland Nattie, who is now head coach of National Basketball League (NBL) contenders Majesty Gardens.
Nattie, who served 10 years at the helm as JABA president, took over the reins at Majesty Gardens from Ludlow Barker, who has opted to coach promoted team Braves Chiefs in this year's competition.
"I am here to make a difference and I hope that I can start the changes that enable this community to win this championship in the next couple of seasons," said Nattie.
Sports has often been the 'weapon' of choice to heal war-torn communities and resolve conflicts and this is exactly what the Majesty Gardens basketball team has been doing over the last seven years.
Basketball has managed to unite the people in the community, as the team attracts the largest crowd in the local league.
The South St Andrew-based team was knocked out at the semi-final stage of the competition last season by eventual champions Urban Knights.
Nattie noted that the players have always had the talent and skill to win the competition, but lacked management.
"A good management structure was what they didn't have to take them to the next level and with me at the helm, people can certainly expect a lot a great things this season," said Nattie, who is also the coach of national women's league champions, Waulgrovians Bullets.
He added that despite the lack of financial support, he is confident that they can still achieve their objectives this season.
"I think that with the right management structure that is now in place with the community behind us, it is now very likely that we should be able to attract a few sponsors to the team," he said.
The Kingston 11-based team's task might be a bit more difficult as their top man, last year's Most Valuable Player - Kemar McLeish, is currently preparing to take up a scholarship in the United States.
However, they have regained the services of former Rookie of the Year and captain, Baldon Todd, former Tivoli Gardens standout Havanda Dunn, centre Christopher Berry and forward Jahlan Golding.
The NBL is slated to begin in the third week in May.