By Rawle Welch
Former Ireland-based rugby star Kevin McKenzie in an interview with Kaieteur Sport on Friday questioned the harsh treatment meted out to him and two other players by the Guyana Rugby Football Union (GRFU) for misconduct committed at this year’s Commonwealth Games in India.
McKenzie, who was hit with a one-year ban for drinking alcohol while the team was preparing to leave India told this newspaper that the eventual penalty was too severe for such minor infractions bearing in mind that what they were accused of happened long after the Games had concluded.
Regarded as the best player locally and someone who played a pivotal role in securing Guyana’s qualification for the Games in addition to his game winning heroics both in the CAC and NACRA Championships, McKenzie along with Dwayne Schroeder and Canada-based Albert LaRose have been suspended by the GFRU from local and international rugby for periods ranging from nine months to two years with immediate effect.
“First of all, we were given 5-6 pages of charges against us with little time to study and respond to which I deem unfair and to be honest it has damaged my reputation both from a personal standpoint and as a player in the sport,” McKenzie said.
He questioned the fairness of the trial which according to him was done by members of the GRFU executive and not by an independent committee.
“We did not get an opportunity to represent ourselves and state our side pertaining to the charges brought against us.
President of the Union Mr. Nascimento was advised to summon members of the Disciplinary Committee, but he overturned the recommendation,” McKenzie stated.
The local standout, who started playing the game at the age of 16 years, disclosed that in the nine years of his career he has never faced any disciplinary issues with any team, officials or management and this current state of affairs is a real blemish on his resume and is therefore asking the Union to rethink its position on the issue.
He added that for someone who has sacrificed a lot to represent his native country the only reason he could arrive at for such an inconsiderate sentence being imposed on him is that it was personal.
“I returned to play for my country in the past even when the club I was playing for in Ireland really needed my services to avoid relegation and to be treated in this manner to my mind is excessive,” McKenzie declared.
He revealed that prior to the start of the Games the team appeared to lack harmony and this he felt was due to the partisan approach of the Management that seemed to favour certain players over the others.
“On many occasions I felt compelled as a senior player to approach Coach/Player Theodore Henry to sort out the obstructive issues, but was repeatedly denied a hearing.
There were obvious issues amongst the players that needed to be heard with the aim of getting solutions since I felt an avenue must be created to discuss matters affecting the players, but that was never done.”
He said that at a time when Guyana should be preparing its best team to redeem itself on the world stage after a disappointing performance at the Games, what you have instead will be a team missing three of its better players who will not be able to participate at the upcoming World Sevens Tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada.
“The penalty meted out to us is unwarranted, it simply does not fit the crime we were accused of and I feel that the Union should rethink its decision and rescind the original punishment,” McKenzie feel.
He believed that in addition to their reputations being tarnished the whole image of the sport has suffered as well.
It must be noted that all three players presented appeals that were found to be of no merit GRFU committee.
Jan 20, 2020Former Club Captain, the veteran Patrick Prashad, pulled all the stops to edge out LGC President Aleem Hussain in their Championship (0-9) Flight, finishing tied in an exciting day of golf under fine...
Editor’s Note, If your sent letter was not published and you felt its contents were valid and devoid of libel or personal attacks, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]