By Franklin Wilson
Guyana’s will be represented by two teams this year in the 2010 Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Qualifying Tournament for the 2010/2011 CONCACAF Champion’s League.
Guyana’s leading club, Alpha ‘The Hammer’ United who participated last year and lost to Haiti’s Tempete FC in their home and away tie will once again compete and have drawn a bye to the second round. The other team is the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) who will be making their debut at this level.
The GDF has been dawn in the preliminary phase of competition against St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ System3 and will host the side from the Island side on March 12 in the first game of the home and away tie.
According to the CFU, the preliminary stage which will involve a total of 15 teams will kick off on March 5 around the Region.
At the completion of the Preliminary Phase of the tournament, the five (5) winning teams will join Puerto Rico Islanders, San Juan Jabloteh, Bayamon FC, River Plate FC and Alpha United for the Second Stage of the tournament.
Both Alpha and the GDF have expressed confidence in doing well. Major Burnette of the GDF speaking with Kaieteur Sport yesterday stated that he is very elated that the GDF will be competing for the first time and they will give a good account of themselves.
And to ensure solid performances, the GDF have strengthened their line up with the addition of Telson McKinnon formerly of Sunburst Camptown, Peter Parks (GFC) and Ike Garraway (Sewall FC). These players will join forces with regulars Royan Morrison, Warren Gilkes, Selwyn Isaacs, Shavane Seaforth, Delon Young, Delroy Deen, Devon Harris, Desford Williams, Eusi Phillips, Keron Joseph, Kevin Lewis, Seon Brewley, Sheik Kamal, Stellon David and some of the younger brigade, Hubert Pedro, Stevon Dolphin and Shawn Arthur.
Brazilian Edson Gabriel dos Santos is the head Coach with Assistants Marlon Washington and Calvin ‘Flu’ Allen. Major Burnette disclosed that apart from the GDF’s participation in the CFU competition, they will be participating in all the other tournaments locally, noting that 2010 will be a very busy year for the Army in relation to sports.
“We will be competing in all the competitions locally and that apart, will be starting our nursery department as well as forming a female team this year. We are looking to start from the Under-11 stage.”
Burnette noted that the Army has and will continue to pace lots of emphasis of sports. “We are also seriously looking at the possibility of joining the International Military Sport Council. We were invited to the Congress last year so we are looking at joining where we will be able to compete in many sports disciplines apart from football.”
The Army team will continue their preparations daily at their home ground. Burnette noted that the team will be ready for the challenge of System3 on March 12 when they (GDF) host the first game.
Alpha United who drew a bye along with four (4) other clubs have been training intensely at the Carifesta Sports Complex ground their main base under the watchful eyes of Head Coach Wayne ‘Wiggy’ Dover who is back at the helm.
Dover, had left last year to take up a contact with Trinidad and Tobago Pro League side Caledonia AIA but has since returned to his home land and is back in charge at Alpha. He told Kaieteur Sport that he is glad to be back and is comfortable with the package offered.
He noted that the players and coaching staff have been hard at work ever since the end of January. “We started off with some fitness work and have been progressing satisfactorily ever since. Tactical sessions have also been part of our schedule which includes finishing and team organisation. We are placing a lot of emphasis on being a cohesive unit in attack and defence and the guys have been responding well.”
Dover is being assisted by Clifton Bobb (Manager/Assistant Coach), Gavin Brown (physical Trainer/Goalkeeper Coach) and Joel Semple performing duties as the Equipment Manager.
Dover, who is also the Assistant Coach of the National Women’s team (Lady Jags) has rated Alpha’s chances better than last year and is optimistic that they will do better this time around.
“We have time to ensure that we are 100% prepared and with the kind of players available, we will do well.”
While the focus is on the CFU championship, Dover said their intention is to continue to dominate locally. He stated that the tournaments that have eluded them and those they did not
participate in last year, is on their agenda to reclaim.
Like the GDF, Alpha secured the services of some players during the January transfer window period. Chris Camacho, Anthony Belfield and Jermaine Murray are new signings.
Captain Howard Lowe will again be a critical component in defence and experience for Alpha. Support will come from Kelvin McKenzie, Shawn Bishop, Philbert Moffatt, Ronson Williams, Dwain Jacobs, Abassi McPherson, Dwight Peters, Quincy Madramootoo, Gordon Henry and Elton Brown who is back.
Andrew Murray it is understood is currently on a tryout with Suriname side Robin Hood FC.
Kaieteur Sport takes this opportunity to wish both Alpha United and the GDF the best in the CFU Club Championship.
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