Union could suffer penalties for female team withdrawal
- Men’s team experiencing financial shortfall
By Rawle Welch
Even after a series of pieces lamenting the poor performances of major stakeholders, this newspaper was once again presented with a sordid tale of another disappointing development in sports, during the Guyana Rugby Football Union’s press briefing Friday, at Olympic House.
The briefing, held to apprise the nation about Guyana’s participation at the NACRA and 2013 Rugby World Cup qualifiers scheduled to be staged next weekend in Ottawa, Canada saw in attendance Head Coach Theodore Henry, Captain Ryan Gonsalves, President of the Union Col. John Lewis, Treasurer Leonardo Butcher and Director of Sevens Mike McCormack, who all made remarks pertaining to the current state of affairs shortly before they are set to depart.
Col. Lewis, who took over the reins of power for the Union from Christopher ‘Kit’ Nascimento, revealed that they presently have a shortfall in their finances in spite of the last minute decision to field just the Men’s team at the Canada tournaments.
According to the President he is hoping that through the exposure of this setback, sponsors who had giving an undertaking to assist, but have so far failed to honour their promise, will do so, while he is also hoping that the Government has a change of heart and get on board as well.
McCormack, who has the responsibility of selecting the final squad, admitted that the team is facing what he aptly described as its most challenging preparations for the past 3-4 years, adding that apart from the financial shortfall, they’ve had to battle with the inclement weather which has severely affected the smooth flow of their training.
Additionally, McCormack disclosed that two integral members of the squad in Richard Staglon and Ronald Mayers have been denied visas to travel to Canada due to a mix-up with their documentations, but after writing the Canadian High Commissioner he is hopeful that their applications will be reviewed and the visas granted.
McCormack also spoke of the toughness of the tournaments this time around, informing that countries that Guyana have beaten in the past such as Cayman Islands and Jamaica have benefitted from recent international exposure and are more adept now than before in the Sevens format.
Quizzed on why a request wasn’t made to utilize the National Stadium more often, McCormack, who seemed very guarded in his response, said that the Stadium authorities were very supportive.
He also informed that Guyana’s key player Kevin McKenzie will not be available for the tour due to the Union’s inability to finance his travel from Australia to Canada.
Henry, in response to the same question said the guys made the most of the time available at the Stadium despite the fact that they were denied the use of the full field which made it impossible for them to adequately go through game simulations.
Gonsalves in his remarks said the mood in the team contrary was up and down, meaning that the many setbacks were having a toll on the players, but reminded that they are experienced players and will go to Canada and do their best.
“Our confidence is not as high as previous tours and this is definitely one of our toughest,” Gonsalves stated.
Butcher, who has responsibility for finance, put the figure of deficit for the team’s departure at US$6,800.
It was also intimated that with the belated withdrawal of the female team, Guyana could suffer a penalty.