Aug 04, 2010 Sports
Sports Minister pledges Government support for team’s preparations
By Sean Devers
The entire Caribbean was behind Trinidad and Tobago as they reached the final of the last year’s Champions League 20/20 cricket tournament in India and now its Guyana’s time to shine.
After a week off to soak up the euphoria of their sensational one-wicket win against Barbados in last Saturday night’s final in Trinidad, the Guyanese will start preparations on Monday for their toughest cricketing assignment yet since they opposed Barbados in the first ever Regional first-class match in 1865.
A contract dispute between the players and the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) threatened to spoil Guyana’s South Africa hopes before a compromise was reached and the contracts were signed although a few loose ends remain untied.
Yesterday the Guyana Government got involved and Sports Minister Dr Frank Anthony and Guyana’s Director of Sports and Parliamentarian Neil Kumar met with Skipper Ramnaresh Sarwan, Coach Ravendra Seeram and several members of the team at the Minister’s office to discuss Government involvement in the team’s preparation.
After a one and a half hour closed door meeting, both Sarwan and Minister Anthony expressed confidence that the Guyanese will be properly prepared for their trip to Africa with the Minister calling on all Guyanese at home and abroad for an outpouring of support for the team which hopes to be in the Champions League final on September 26.
Dr Anthony said Guyana’s participation in South Africa in such a high-profile sporting event and on the local media to create the atmosphere that will encourage every Guyanese to rally round the Guyana team.
“We had a very good meeting with the players to congratulate them on winning the Caribbean 20/20 tournament and to let them know how proud we are of them, especially (Jonathon) Foo who led us to victory in thrilling fashion in the final. The Government has also pledged whatever support we can give to the team as they prepare for South Africa,” Dr Anthony said.
The Guyana National Stadium at Providence is the only venue in Guyana capable of hosting proper night cricket and Dr Anthony said that Government, which controls the venue, will ensure the National team has use of the Stadium as they intensify preparations.
Dr Anthony, who is also the Minister responsible for Culture, said that several activities have been fixed for the Stadium during August, which is Guyana’s peak tourism period but once a preparation schedule is presented to him by Coach Seeram efforts will be made to ensure the team gets the best preparation possible.
Kumar said he was satisfied with the meeting and explained how important winning the Caribbean Cup and qualifying for South Africa is to this nation.
“Sports transcend race, religion and political affiliation and almost everyone at the Friday night boxing at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall was on the edge of their seats as they listened on radio to the final stages of the semi-final when Guyana beat Trinidad and Tobago to reach the final. Everyone was so proud of the boys and as a government it is also our responsibility to help as they prepare to make us even more proud in South Africa,” Kumar said.
“I am a bit disappointed that the problems in the cricket board did not allow us to do all we had planned before the team left for the Caribbean Cup and I hope everyone understands the importance of this opportunity for not only the players or the cricket board but for all Guyana. The exposure Guyana will get from this should be tremendous and everyone must work together to give our team the best opportunity to win the Champions League,” Kumar said.
Kumar said that if needed several overseas Guyanese would be willing to make a contribution to assist the team’s preparation and opined that a Guyana vs T&T re-match at the Stadium would not only help to raise funds but also offer excellent preparation for the team.
Sarwan opted not to comment too much on the contract which says that the team’s prize money in South Africa must be shared equally between the players and the GCB but instead said his focus was on molding a fighting unit that would compete against the best 20/20 teams in the world in South Africa.
“Preparation is very important and we are looking forward to getting the best possible preparation we can. A 20-man squad should be known by this weekend and we start our training from Monday. This is a great opportunity for everyone and I am confident that we will represent the West Indies people well,” Sarwan said.
Sarwan led Guyana to championship honours in the inaugural Stanford 20/20 regional competition in 2006 and those present in Trinidad and former West Indies players Colin Croft and Derick Murray said they were very impressed with his captaincy during the radio commentary on CMC’s Cricketplus’s coverage of the matches.
“This was an easy team to lead since I have a great relationship with all the players. We all had one common goal to make our country proud and the South Africa trip was a motivator. I would say that the team spirit we had in Barbados and Trinidad was the best I have seen in any Guyana team I have been in,” Sarwan disclosed.
The Captain knows his team has to lift their game if they hope to compete against the world’s top players but say his team has the talent to go all the way.
“I am so proud of Foo and Bishoo. Barnwell… the experience of Travis and Cush….everyone chipped in even those who did not play were always behind the guys and it was a great feeling to win….like it was in Antigua in 2006. Once our board ensures we get the right preparation and we all work hard I don’t see why we can win in South Africa,” Sarwan said.
The former West Indies Captain thanked all the supporters in and outside of Guyana for all their support and prayers for the rain to stop when it seemed that Guyana would be denied a place in the final due to a washed out semi-final against Trinidad.
“We had tremendous support and the guys played brilliantly when we most needed them. We helped out Trinidad last year when they were going to India so I am confident if we ask them to come here again to play us they will respond. When we sit to discus our preparation itinerary playing them in a practice match will be on top of the list of things to be discussed,” Sarwan said.
With the problems with the cricket almost fully sorted out and with the assurance of Government’s support, it’s now time to start phase two of preparations for the road to South Africa.
Guyana has completed the hard work to qualify for the African trip and are now five wins away from emulating T&T’s feat of reaching the final.
Waka, Waka means “do it/Get the task done” in a Camerounian dialect called fang. It’s time our entire nation starts singing in a deafening, collective voice ‘Waka, Waka Guyana in South Africa’.
Khemraj Pooranmall triumph in Guyana Draughts Association tournament
Khemraj Pooranmall amassed 26 points to emerge victorious when the Guyana Draughts Association (GDA) staged an Emancipation day tournament at the Flamboyant Club, Eccles EBD Sunday morning last, while Ulric Braithwaite and Jairam both scored 20 points apiece to share the second place.
The winners received trophies donated by Director of Youth and Sports, Neil Kumar while the Guyana Draughts Association put up one of the prizes.
Home Affairs Minister, Clement Rohee was on hand to distribute the prizes to the respective winners with support from General Secretary of the PPP, Donald Ramotar.
In the photo above Pooranmall (left) poses with the Jairam (centre) and Braithwaite shortly after the culmination of the tournament.
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