Chairman of PSC hails win as significant, offers continued support for the game
By Franklin Wilson
The Guyana Football Federation (GFF) on Thursday last hosted an appreciation ceremony at Duke Lodge to honour the senior ‘Golden Jaguars’ side which etched their names in the history books by becoming the first Guyana football team to ever win an overseas International Tournament.
The team under the guidance of Head Coach Wayne ‘Wiggy’ Dover won the inaugural Suriname Independence Cup tournament which featured the home team, The Netherlands Antilles, French Guiana and the Guyana.
This young unit under the Captaincy of Howard Lowe defeated all three countries by 1-0 margins to lift the championship trophy which was presented to the team Captain Howard by Suriname’s Head of State, H.E. Dr. Ronald Venetiaan.
President of the GFF Colin Klass in congratulating the team on their history making win, pointed out that they would have achieved the feat at very short notice but were a united bunch that was focused on the job of winning and doing their country proud.
Klass also complimented President of the Private Sector Commission Captain Gerry Gouveia, Carlton Joao Sales & Marketing Executive of Banks DIH Limited and Gregory De Gannes Director of Operations of Church’s Chicken for their support.
“In order for us to succeed it’s only through a united front, players, spectators, business community and we are really proud of the fact that the Business Community saw it fit to attend this function.”
The GFF Boss reminded and encouraged the players to remain focused and disciplined.
He congratulated the players for the high standard of discipline displayed in Suriname.
“This level of discipline must be upheld if we are going to continue to make inroads and progress at the international level.”
Klass also took the opportunity to condemn the indiscipline of some of the players and spectators in recent times at matches. “This cannot be tolerated and the federation will do all in its power to ensure that this kind of behavior comes to an end.
Persons who continue to bring the game into disrepute will be dealt with severely in accordance with the laws of the game.”
Going forward, the GFF Klass said, will be putting together an Under-23 squad to take on reigning Trinidad and Tobago Club Champions Joe Public. This game set for November 29 will form part of the card for the finals of the GFF National Super League which is sponsored by FIFA under the Win in CONCACAF with CONCACAF Project.
This Klass noted is in keeping with preparations prior to the Olympic Qualifying competition. A number of the players who participated in Suriname will be on show in the under-23 team which will feature as a guest player, Guyana’s first MLS player Gregory ‘Jackie Chan’ Richardson.
“All in all, we are going to do our utmost to ensure that we keep the momentum. The basis of it all is to ensure that our Super League which has come at the correct time is sustained and matures into a Professional League which will ultimately take Guyana’s to the highest possible level and give or players the opportunity to earn and play football.”
Captain Gouveia in an invited comment voiced his disappointment at the way the players were acknowledged for such an historic win.
“They did not only beat one, two, or three teams but superior teams to them and we came back home with that trophy which will cause us to be catapulted into a different category by FIFA and I don’t believe that we have done enough to acknowledge and honour these young men that brought this kind of distinguished glory to Guyana.”
Gouveia declared that we have to create ways to take care of our players and he is of the view that enough is not being done to support football and Rugby.
“I believe that football will give these young men in villages and different parts of this country hope to achieve something in life but I don’t think enough is being done.”
The Private Sector Commission Head said he believes that it all comes down to the Football Federation. ”People need to understand that the GFF is part of the international architecture of administration in the world and there is only one way to develop the game in Guyana and that is through the GFF. The government cannot do it separate from the federation, nobody could do it separate from the federation if we want to go on the world stage with football.” He continued, “I believe we need to come to grips with the realities of the federation, work with them and give them the kind of respect that is needed and respect the rules in which they operate.” The Captain said he is still looking forward for more to be done to honour the players. Banks DIH Sales and Marketing Executive Carlton Joao declared that winning the tournament was phenomenal and it shows that the investment over the years that Banks DIH would have made was worthwhile.
Many of the players who participated he said would have played in a tournament sponsored by his company. Coca Cola he said has also been behind the game of football at every level. “As a company we will continue to invest in sports and football in every region of Guyana. Again, congratulations to the boys for a phenomenal win. Under any circumstances winning away from home against teams higher up the ranks than you is great. We hope that they go from strength to strength.”
Gregory De Gannes described the performance of the team as “Fantastic” but noted that more support is needed for football. “As I’ve said before too, more discipline from spectators, the members of the team and clubs. We need to show football is a team sport and to understand that in everyday life we have obstacles and opponents. Let us use the necessary skills, communicate and be disciplined to overcome these obstacles and score our goals.”
Digicel, GFF’s main sponsor, took the opportunity to present gifts to the players and management staff.
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