It’s a sport we can make a long term investment in – Sukhai
By Franklin Wilson
“Last year when we decided to enter into the football arena we did so with apprehension as it was the first time we spent so much money on one sport. But when we looked at the duration of the tournament, the level of the football played and the commitment by the organisers, we were satisfied that it was a sport we could make a long term investment in.”
The words of Managing Director of the National Milling Company (NAMILCO) Bert Sukhai during his feature remarks at the unveiling of the Second Annual Namilco Football Festival yesterday in the company’s board room, Agricola, East Bank Demerara.
This year’s Festival will see 16 of the best teams drawn from the Upper Demerara, East Demerara, Berbice and Georgetown Associations battling for the top prize of $400,000 in this knock-out competition.
Sukhai along with other top executives of Namilco stated that they were very elated to once again be involved with a tournament that not only showcases the enormous talent in Guyana but it shows that the organising club, Fruta Conquerors, have been putting the monies earned to good uses in making the facility more comfortable for patrons.
“These developments augur well for the expansion of football in Guyana and also encourage more corporate sponsorship.”
Competition is set to kick off next Friday at the Tucville ground with city sides, defending champion Guyana Defence Force and Pele taking on East Demerara’s Bakewell Buxton Stars and Berbice’ New Amsterdam United, respectively.
The other teams selected are leading knock-out specialist’s Alpha ‘The Hammer’ United, Sunburst Camptown, Fruta Conquerors, Georgetown Football Club, Santos and the lone division-one side, leaders, BK International Western Tigers of the city.
Determinators, B.V Triumph United, and Buxton United of the East Demerara. Monedderlust and Rosignol United of Berbice and the lone team from Upper Demerara, Bakewell Topp XX.
The organisers are promising a highly competitive tournament and fans too, can look forward to being much more involved than being mere spectators.
Namilco Marketing Manager Damon Pestano called on the teams to be at their best in terms of tactical, technical and physical preparedness while assuring that the fans can look forward to lots of giveaways of the top products that his company manufactures.
Anticipating that the finals will undoubtedly feature the best two teams, the organisers took the decision to play the final at the National Stadium, Providence.
Sukhai, said he is hoping that the level of competition remains at a high level making reference to the last competition which saw six of the 16 matches going into extra time with two matches including the finals being decided by spot kicks.
“There was an average of 3.6 goals per match and I hope the teams maintain and better the standards that were set last year. I also expect that the tournament will be run with the kind of efficiency and management as last year, Sukhai challenged.”
The losing finalist will earn $200,000 with the winner of the third place match taking home $100,000 and the loser, $50,000.
Other corporate support comes from Global Technology who will be contributing two computer scholarships, 2 J’s General Store a cash prize for the MVP, Juniors Jewelry one gold chain for the player scoring the most goals while Swansea has agreed to present one cell phone to the best goalkeeper on show.
Other sponsors on board are the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company, Guyana Times, HJTV, Guyana Beverage Inc. and the Ministry of Health.
According to club President Marlon Cole, the Ministry of Health will be working along with the club on a no smoking campaign during matches.
Cole, who is also the Honorary Secretary of the Georgetown Football Association, reminded that the proceeds from this competition goes directly towards the development of the Tucville ground.
“At the moment we are in the process of constructing our club house, we have already finished the construction of wash room’s facilities and we are in the process of upgrading our lights to ensure a better quality atmosphere for our players and fans.”
General Secretary of the Guyana Football Federation Noel Adonis complimented Namilco for investing in the development of football and encouraged the organisers to value the partnership with the main sponsor. He also challenged all that the competition should be conducted in an atmosphere of fair play in every regard.
Company Operations Manager Ralf Hemsing and Club Secretary Lavern Fraser-Thomas also shared the head table at yesterday’s press conference.
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