Show more admiration for our achievements – Nascimento
By Rawle Welch
Recently-elected President of the Guyana Rugby Football Union (GRFU) Christopher ‘Kit’ Nascimento speaking at Olympic House yesterday, called on Government to show more admiration for the outstanding achievements of the national rugby squads.
Nascimento, who replaced outgoing President Noel Adonis for the top job, was at the time addressing the media at a Meeting called to make public members of the new executive and to outline the Union’s list of engagements for this year.
The new President disclosed that he would be approaching the Government and the Guyana Olympic Association for assistance to offset expenses for the teams’ preparations for the upcoming CAC Games where rugby is scheduled to be staged right here at the National Stadium from July 24-25 and the Men’s participation at the Commonwealth Games slated for October in India.
He said that around US$60-65,000 is needed for the team to have proper preparations, if they intend to do well at the Commonwealth Games later this year, but unfortunately the Union have expended all its financial resources and is currently swimming in the red.
“We have a team that can win games and there is even the possibility that we could reach as far as the quarter-finals, but it is a huge challenge to get there and in the kind of shape that could make us very competitive,” Nascimento felt.
Nascimento stated that the Government has agreed to partner the Union for the hosting of the CASCO Games Sevens segment, but appealed to them to offer more assistance to the teams which have done exceedingly well for the past 4-5 years, adding that there always seems to be a continuous struggle for them to get to tournaments.
“Right now we have a situation where we are going to represent the North American and Caribbean region at the Commonwealth Games along with Canada and it would indeed by extremely disappointing if we could not get there due to the unavailability of funds to prepare and travel.
“We are and I’m subject to correction here the only representative team from Guyana and perhaps the Caribbean that will be going to the Games in India and that is a significant achievement,” Nascimento reminded.
He informed that the team would need a few practice games at the highest level if they aim to challenge the powers of the sport, pointing out that right now Guyana’s rugby is no longer being measured at the regional level, but rather the international level.
He based his assessment on the last performance of the men’s team that participated at the World Sevens Series in Las Vegas, USA.
“We held our own against the best in the world which included France, New Zealand, Australia, Scotland and the USA and if taken into context one would understand how significant those performances were,” the President said.
He revealed that France is an IRB foundation member with a players pool of around 273,000 whereas Guyana has only three clubs and the sport is only played in 14 schools.
He, however, mentioned that the trips to Mexico and the USA came with a huge cost to the Union because over US$35,000 was spent on those tours with just $16,000 coming from the Private Sector.
“You cannot compete at home and expect to be competitive against those nations you have to have advanced preparations against the top teams.”
Meanwhile, the NACRA Sevens Championships will also be held in Guyana following the completion of the CAC segment.
Nascimento indicated that the winner of the Men’s category will move on play at the IRB Sevens championship next year.
Among the other events scheduled for this year is the NACRA Under-19 tournament in the Bahamas and the Women’s 15’s.
“We have a huge year ahead of us and I’m to meet President Bharrat Jagdeo on Monday, but to what extent of assistance we’ll receive I don’t know.”