Lumumba angered over replay decision
By Michael Benjamin
The excitement that permeated the Tucville Ground as the nation’s best football teams battle for top honours in the Namilco Football Festival, was dampened following an unforeseen blackout that led to the temporary abandonment of the semi-final matches and dissatisfaction of the President of Alpha United, Odinga Lumumba over a decision for a replay of the match, last night.
At the time of the blackout, the second for the night, Alpha ‘The Hammer’ United and Camptown Football Club were locked in a ferocious battle for a berth in the final to be played tonight at the Providence Stadium.
Alpha United had surged ahead in just the 2nd minute compliments of an Anthony ‘Awo’ Abrams effort. Camptown then retaliated with a 43rd minute goal off the boot of Troy Prescod from a 24-yard free kick.
The teams were subsequently involved in a tactical battle with each enjoying a high degree of ball possession. Camptown secured the perfect opportunity to move ahead when Anthony Harding
was awarded a free kick. The subsequent strike had all the trappings of success from the time the ball left his boot. It sailed past the Camptown goalie, handing the advantage back to Alpha United.
Minutes later another blackout affected play, this time forcing the abandonment of the games. With little time left before tonight’s finals, already billed for the Providence Stadium, organizers ordered a replay at the same venue last night.
Reports are that Lumumba, who is currently out of the country, is livid over the decision for a replay since he feels that such it is unfair to Alpha players who up to the time of the stoppage had been enjoying a 2-1 lead. Lumumba is contending that a resumption, not a replay, should have been ordered.
Kaieteur News sought a comment from the President of Conquerors Football Club, Marlon Cole. He bemoaned the stance taken by Lumumba saying that such a position can be very counter productive and can only serve to affect the progress of the young footballers.
Cole intimated that at the time of the blackout 28 minutes had already elapsed but one could not totally rule out a Camptown resurgence. He feels that to contend that Alpha United would have won, would have been premature.
When contacted for a comment, former Secretary of the Georgetown Football League (GFL), Lester Sealey agreed with the organizers to order a replay. He cited a rule of the European Confederation that advises that in the event of a major disruption similar to the aforementioned, the time that has elapsed is noted and at the earliest opportunity the game resumes from the time of abortion.
However, Sealey pointed out that there is no specified rule to govern such an eventuality in the Namilco tournament. He said that the organizers would have had to come to a common agreement at the beginning of the tournament. “Since this was not done the only practical thing to do is to order a replay,” Sealey contended.
Despite Lumumba’s obvious disgruntlement, the tournament continues tonight at the Providence Stadium with the third place playoff between the two teams that lost their matches last night.
The evening’s proceedings get underway at 18:00 hrs with a U-11 Pee Wee match between Fruta Conquerors and Sunburst Camptown. This match was organized in honour of Delon Monderson and Neil Hernandez, two former footballers who passed away in 2006 and 2007 respectively. Organizers have also said that this tournament will now be a regular fixture on the yearly football calendar.
Organisers are also boasting of a more lucrative prize package following substantial corporate input.
The top four teams will now receive over one million dollars in cash and prizes after the sponsors Namilco, have acquiesced to a more lucrative package from $1.5 million to $2 million.
The winner will take home $400,000 while the runner up will cart off $200,000. The third and fourth place finishers will receive $100,000 and $50,000 respectively.
There will also be a special prize for the best goalkeeper (1 cell phone compliments of Swansea) while two young and promising footballers, selected by the organizing committee, will be the benefactors of computer scholarships compliments of Global Technology Computer School.
Other corporate bodies coming in for special commendation are: Banks Guinness, Guyana Beverage and Oasis Water Company.
Plans are also in train to utilize the proceeds garnered from the tournament towards the development of the club’s infrastructure as well as the construction of the clubhouse which is currently being addressed.
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