Jun 10, 2009 News
– if nurtured could benefit Guyana
By Michael Benjamin
After spending just about three months of a two-year coaching stint with Caledonia AIA, a professional football club in Trinidad and Tobago, Wayne ‘Wiggy’ Dover is convinced that despite the awesome talent of local footballers, the absence of the requisite support and the required tools, will render them ineffective on the international scene.
An outstanding coach that had piloted Alpha ‘The Hammer’ United to the top echelons of local football, Dover who recently returned to Guyana on a short break from his contract, has had a first hand look at the training regiment of top class footballers, the likes of Trinidad forward, Stern John and defender, Dennis Lawrence and believes that local footballers are just as talented.
Unfortunately, Dover is of the view that the talents of local players are stifled because of the non-availability of a viable support system.
“Guyanese footballers are talented and can measure up to their counterparts in Trinidad and Tobago, but it is really painful to see such talent go to waste for the want of adequate corporate help to offset their huge expenses,” Dover lamented.
The former national coach, who also performed similar duties at the Alpha United FC, had dedicated much energy into the building process of that team and when he left for the Twin Island Republic the Alpha United FC was at the top of their game.
He had piloted them to the wins in the 2007/08 edition of the Kashif and Shanghai football championships, the Namilco Football Festival, the Mayor’s Cup and the Alpha Football Festival. Under Dover’s tutelage, ‘The Hammers’ had also retained the Cellink Premiere league a record three times, from 2006-08.
When Dover left Guyana to join forces with former Technical Director of The Golden Jaguars, Jamaal Shabazz, the Alpha FC were enjoying the best time of their career and was regarded as the top local team.
Even though he believes that his departure has had a negative effect on Alpha’s upward mobility, Dover also cites other variables that might have been responsible for the mixed fortunes currently being experienced by ‘The Hammers.’
“If Alpha is to retain the position as the best local team, there must be adequate corporate intervention,” he posits. He also feels that the players would need to have at least two rigid practice matches per week. He is, however, not oblivious to the resources necessary for this to happen.
“The cost can be very prohibitive,” he reasons. Indeed, Dover revealed that with the rental of the Georgetown Cricket Club Ground (GCC), transportation costs, lights, water and other necessities, the monetary requirement could balloon to a prohibitive sum.
Dover said that he is enjoying his tenure in the Twin Island Republic and would be very happy to impart some of the newly learnt techniques and applications to local footballers.
However, he is caught in a quandary since, apart from his nationalistic ambitions, the young coach has a responsibility to nurture and care for his family.
Dover and another local coach, Kavin Pearce arrived in Trinidad and Tobago, joined forces with head coach, Jamal Shabazz and Jerry Moe, and immediately engaged in the rigours of honing the skills of the young footballers of the Caledonia AIA, FC.
“When I arrived in Trinidad and Tobago the team was just winding down from the pre-session training,” he said. This session entailed the application of technical and tactical work in preparation for the tough football season ahead.
“The players engaged in three games a week inclusive of the reserve games on Thursday. Several local players have also managed to clinch lucrative contracts with the Trinidad Club. They are local national defence player and former captain of Alpha Football club, Charles ‘Lily’ Pollard, Dwayne Blake, a Bartica U-18 player and Brion Barker, a Guyanese defender now residing in Miami.
Touching on the controversial issue of the FIFA grant, Dover remains resolute that despite the apparent ‘hugeness’ of the package, it is hardly sufficient to address the many developmental programmes necessary to change the flagging fortunes of local ball players.
He said that when Guyanese attempt to compare local players with their international counterparts, they inadvertently forget the poor conditions under which the players are forced to compete.
The naysayer also forgets the meagre funds that players operate with in achieving their goals. “While we will argue that other football nations under comparison are rich and powerful I believe that if we have the will, we can make things possible,” the former Beacon defender asserts.
Dover leaves sometime today for his Trinidad base to resume duties at the Caledonia AIA, FC. While he is enjoying the experience he is also cognizant that his talents, if locally utilised, could make a difference on the local scene.
However, he adamantly pronounces that the general attitude towards the sport must change before reparation works could begin.
AUBREY NORTON FRIGHTEN RENEGOTIATION AND RING-FENCING
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