“The new Generation of Guyana players must come out from under the comfort of their mother’s bossom and go out into the football world and shape their fortunes.” This is the advice of Former Guyana Technical Director Jamaal Shabazz in an invitation from Kaieteur Sport to give a New Year’s message to the footballers of this country.
Shabazz stated that Guyana’s football owes a great debt to players like Andre Trotz, Charles Pollard, Collie Hercules, Randolph Jerome, Carey Harris, Kayode Mc Kinnon, Richard Reynolds and Nigel Codrington just to name a few.
“They took the baton passed on from the generation of Gordon Brathwaithe, Terrence Archer and company, journeyed to Trinidad literally struggled to become professionals, sucked salt and today they have paved the way for professionalism in the game.”
“They knew that if they just sat down here in Guyana and cursed the GFF like so many others are doing they would achieve nothing. I remember when Pollard and company worked for US $50.00 a month in Trinidad, now guys like him and Walter Moore are among the highest paid in the TT Pro league, added Shabazz.
“Some of these players have returned to Guyana and built houses, opened business places and put vehicles on the road from the monies they have earned as professionals in Trinidad.
“Fifteen years ago who would have thought that a Guyana player could achieve that by playing in a league in Trinidad, questioned Shabazz who now works with the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation.
Touching on the issue of US travel, Shabazz said these players have removed the stigma that plagued Guyana’s football for years when it comes to the United States Embassy.
“They all have US visas they travel back and forth the Embassy knows these guys do not need to hide in America since they have jobs to come back to. There is no longer this great anxiety on the part of the US Embassy to grant a US visa to a player playing professionally.
“Then you have players like Gregory Richardson who has used T&T as a stepping stone to bigger and better things.”
Shabazz revealed that the success of his work during his three year tenure in Guyana had a lot to do with the professionalism of the players. “It was easy to work with them because they are professionals”.
“Jackie Chan, Codrington a couple of them like to fun around but when it came to the job these guys are professionals. I have the greatest love and respect for the Guyana players.
And admitted a special liking for Alpha and former national midfielder Shawn Bishop.
“I think Shawn Bishop is a special talent he is my favorite player in the Caribbean it is a pity that he has not gone further in his football career. But I think he has a good enough football brain to become a top class coach and I advised Coach Dover to take him under his wing.”
However Shabazz feels that future Guyana coaches will not have it easy when the old guard of players leave the international scene.
“The generation of Pollard, Hercules and company is at the evening of their career, there can be no
turning back of the clock. But their experience of 16 years playing professionally will be a huge loss and unless the younger generation is exposed at markets in the Caribbean and North America, the program will recede.
“The Kashif and Shanghai Organisation played an important role in getting these players to Trinidad, now it must be a definte strategy on the part of the Guyana Football Federation to get these players into professional markets.
“But too many of the young players want to make what Gregory ‘Jackie Chan’ Richardson is making or what Pollard is making without putting in the work, stated Shabazz.
Citing players like Dwight Peters, Philbert Moffatt, Dwain Jacobs, Ronson Williams and Clive Nobrega as good talents, Shabazz had some fatherly advice for them.
“Sons of Guyana you now need to grow up. Go out into the football world and become men. Work hard and when your opportunity comes take it.
The perfect salary, the perfect situation does not drop from the sky it is created by hard work. Luck is often confused for preparation married to opportunity, ended Shabazz
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