By Franklin Wilson
With an increased first prize and games returning to the community of Buxton, the 19th edition of Guyana’s most successful football tournament, the Kashif and Shanghai (K&S) was launched yesterday in the Savannah Suite of the Le Meridien Pegasus Hotel.
Executive Directors Kashif Muhammad and Aubrey ‘Shanghai’ Major, Marketing Executive of the first and longest sponsor Banks DIH, Carlton Joao, Caribbean Airlines Marketing Executive Kathy Shuffler-Ten Pow along with the Secretary and PRO of K&S Colin Aaron an Mark Bradford were all present at yesterday’s launch.
Sixteen teams including the lone overseas invitee, Trinidad and Tobago’s K/Brans Sports & Cultural Club will compete.
Defending champions Alpha ‘The Hammer’ United is one of six invited from the city, the others being Sunburst Camptown, Guyana Defence Force, Fruta Conquerors, Pele and BK International Western Tigers.
Five-time champions Bakewell Topp XX lead Upper Demerara’s five team challenge which also includes Blueberry Hill, Milerock, Eagles United and Rusal.
Bakewell Buxton Stars and Mahaica Determinators are the two teams from the East Demerara Association. Lethem will make a return, compliments of the Government of Guyana as part of their support package for the tournament, while the lone Berbice team will be decided after a playoff between New Amsterdam United and the winner of the match between Real Union and Cougars.
Muhammad in disclosing details of this year’s competition which will make a return to the East Coast village of Buxton after six years, said his organization is delighted to be retuning to the Buxton playfield sine it is clear that the East Coast is becoming the third major power in national football.
Muhammad also noted that the focus of the tournament has always been to create opportunities for the development of football in Guyana as well as the personal development of the players.
“We believe that this year could see further breakthroughs in this regard and we will be making a public announcement in that regard later.
Those persons who are familiar with the tournament will be aware of the fact that we strive to maintain the highest possible standard both in terms of spectator conduct and in terms of the level of professionalism among players both on and off the field.
This year will be no different. We are determined to do what we can to rid football of the undesirable image that it often attracts.”
Joao in his brief remarks stated his company’s pleasure in being associated with the tournament from its inception acknowledging that the organisers have done a lot of work to bring it to the level it’s at.
“In the early years there weren’t too many people believing in the project but it has caught on and been growing leaps and bounds and we are very pleased this year that they have moved into other areas and Buxton again.”
Joao also disclosed that his company’s contribution is quite significant and over the years it has grown with the tournament.
Shuffler-Ten Pow while congratulating K&S for organising the tournament complimented them for choosing Caribbean Airlines as a corporate partner.
“We are very proud to see an organisation such as yours have taken the bull by the horns in approaching companies like us in supporting the development of sports in this country.
We feel that through sport it builds ties with the communities and the country at large and we are also very happy to see that the government is being a part of this, supporting the development of sport in the rural areas.”
The grand finale, which had in the past being contested at the Mackenzie Sports Club ground, will for the first time not be held there but at the National Stadium.
Muhammad disclosed that K&S met with the various stakeholders in Linden to discuss this matter and they are pleased that initiatives are underway to ensure that some compensatory measures are put in place to help make up for the shift in venue.
“We have said that we believe that the real issue here is the need to rehabilitate the Mackenzie Sports Club and we propose to say more about this matter in the weeks ahead.”
The opening ceremony for the tournament is slated for December 14 at the Mackenzie Sports Club ground with the first playing day being December 17 at the Plaisance Community Centre ground, East Coast Demerara.
The other playing days are, December 19 (MSC ground), December 21 (Buxton Community ground), December 25 (National Stadium), December 26 (MSC ground), December 28 (MSC ground) and the final on January 1, 2009 at the National Stadium.
Other sponsors on board to date are Ministry of Culture Youth and Sport, Linden Economic Advancement Programme (LEAP), Mohammed’s Enterprise Ltd., B.K International, Dr. Colin Watson and Guymine.com.
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