GCA seeks to pursue bursaries for young players – President
…wants a ‘marriage’ between sports and Education
By Sean Devers
Newly-elected President of the Georgetown Cricket Association (GCA), Alfred Mentore, disclosed that the Association is determined to pursue bursaries for young cricketers who have excelled at academics.
The scholarship with corporate sponsors is a part of his vision to keep moving cricket in the city forward.
While some feel that outgoing GCA President Bish Panday had an agenda for using cricket in the capital as a part of his campaign for the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) Presidency, there is no doubt that under his leadership the GCA has been an example to other boards and associations in Guyana. There has been a noticeable revival of cricket in the city over the past two years.
Mentore, after his appointment as GCA head last Wednesday evening at the Demerara Cricket Club (DCC), paid glowing tribute to Panday who did not seek re-election.
Mentore recognised Panday for his work with the GCA and said the former GCB executive was personally responsible for his development as a cricket administrator.
The 37-year-old who represented Guyana at the regional under-19 level in 1991 and who played senior Inter-County cricket in 1994 for Demerara explained his vision for Georgetown’s cricket shortly after he assumed the position of President.
Because of the increase of after-school lessons and the lack of vision for sports on the part of many educators in Guyana, young players are forced to choose between academics and sports resulting in either plenty of sporting talent going to waste or the production of uneducated sportsmen who struggle mentally in regional and international competitions.
A survey by the University of the West Indies in Barbados suggested that the West Indies cricketers are intellectually inferior to their opponents and Mentore is hopeful that if systems are put in place early in the careers of young cricketers that problem can be reversed.
“We hope to identify players who have the ability to excel both at academics and cricket and provide bursaries for them so that they don’t have to choose between the two. This will result in a perfect marriage between sport and education which when formulated by the GCA will be for the benefit of both genders,” Mentore revealed.
Mentore stressed that there are pressing concerns that have to be addressed if cricket is to move forward in Guyana.
“These concerns can only be dealt with from a collective position hence it is necessary for us to roll our sleeves up and to start to deal with the tack ahead. For want of a better term…we need to hit the ground running… a comment made famous by USA President Barrak Obama,” Mentore said.
There are more cricket competitions at all level played in Georgetown than anywhere else in Guyana while the majority of the Demerara and even Guyana teams comprise players who play for city clubs.
Mentore explained that he intends to initiate discussions with the GCB with the view to having Georgetown, as an association, playing as a representative team at the Inter-County level. He added that this move will be consistent with the GCA’s development plans which will allow for a wider pool available to the national selectors.
“My immediate focus will be on four other key areas. We want to form new alliances and strengthen old ones which would allow for greater sharing of ideas and lessons learned. A weapon at our disposal is the GCA website. We also intend to further develop school cricket by installing coaching programmes working with NGOs and holding training sessions.
“Another key area of focus will be the promotion of Women’s cricket at the grass root level by encouraging its development at the school and community level. In addition we plan to expand cricket in South and East Georgetown by working with the Central Government and Municipality to provide playing areas and grounds for members of those communities,” Mentore disclosed.
The right-handed batsman who still plays for DCC at the local club level said the intention is to make the GCA a model association.
“Currently, the GCA has no representative on the Demerara Cricket Board, but still provides the majority of players for the county and country. In addition, we have the finest grounds, organisational structure and facilities necessary for the development of the game and the players.
“I recommend that all stakeholders meet to re-think our long-term strategies and objectives to ensure that Georgetown cricket and Guyana cricket are secured and preserved for the next generation,” Mentore explained.
The GCA head said that NGOs will be utilised to organise and host workshops and life skills training sessions to empower youths to meet the challenges of life.
“This type of guidance is noticeably absent from the training of cricketers from under-15 to national level and many times you hear managers and coaches complain of a lack of mental toughness and social skills among our young cricket teams on tour,” Mentore added.
He said it is the GCA’s vision is to have a paid coach at each club in Georgetown and added that at least five should be in place by the end of this year.
“We are thankful to the GCB for running the Level 1 and 2 coaching programmes allowing us now to draw from a wider pool of certified coaches. In a join venture with corporate sponsors we intend to remunerate these coaches for their important work in moulding out future stars,” Mentore concluded.