President of the Alpha ‘The Hammer’ United FC, Odinga Lumumba has issued a clarion call for local footballers to merge into a unit that will address the interests of all local players if they are to truly benefit from their activities. Mr. Lumumba was at the time addressing the media at a press conference at the Water Chris International Hotel, Waterloo Street, Georgetown, on issues emerging out of the just concluded Kashif and Shanghai football tournament.
He also disclosed that he is in the process of organizing a lucrative tournament that will include such countries as Brazil, Jamaica, Trinidad and Venezuela among others to add to the pool of local tournaments. Lumumba said that negotiations for this tournament are currently underway.
Lumumba further pointed out that the objective of organizing such a tournament is not to compete with K&S but basically to add to the pool of existing tournaments to provide qualitative opposition for local footballers.
Consequently, the Alpha United boss is adamant that the performance of his team has been the lynchpin of the tournament and he has reiterated that the issue of increased emoluments is far from over. “As of now, we will not participate in any tournament where the prize money is under one million dollars,” declared Lumumba. In regards to the K&S tournament Lumumba declared, “We are sounding our voice now; we will not compete for the paltry sum of two million dollars for future K&S tournaments.” He further assured that despite the fact that the earnings in the National League tournament fell outside the ambits of the specified sum, he would nevertheless honour his obligations to the organizers since “we are already committed to the tournament.”
Mr. Lumumba was accompanied by his Vice President, Steve Ninvalle, coach of the team, Wayne ‘Wiggy’ Dover, captain of the squad, Howard Lowe and several other players.
The Alpha United boss publicly acknowledged the efforts of the K&S duo and graciously thanked them for creating the opportunity that allowed his team to prove that it is indeed the best unit locally. He is riding high after Alpha United defied the odds to defeat Pele FC, at the brink of the match, by the odd goal in five after both teams had battled furiously for close to ninety minutes to secure honours.
Mr. Lumumba said that his pre-tournament contention has been justified when he had called for an increase of the prize money. “The Alpha United and Pele are the only two teams with adequate resources to prepare for tournaments of this nature; the others are merely fodder,” declared Lumumba. He further intimated that the cost of preparation for the just concluded tournament easily exceeded 2.3 million dollars. “Our efforts to win this tournament are costly and no longer can we accept the insignificant sums on offer,” said Lumumba. He said that he had called in four guest players to bolster his team’s chances. They are Kurtson Benjamin, a National player from Dominica, Cacau (Rio de Janiero, Brazil), Clayton (Roraima, Brazil) and Kithson Bain (Grenada). Lumumba was also high in praise of the youngest member of the team, a left back named Chris Camacho. He said that despite doubts from the naysayer, the young footballer was charged with manning the important position and did a splendid job, indeed worthy of high commendations.
He concluded by expressing deep gratitude to the members of the corporate community that had supported his team’s efforts. Some of these are, Courtney Benn Contractors, the executive of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF), Cummings Electrical and the Ministry of Culture Youth and Sport. The Alpha boss also thanked President Bharrat Jagdeo for his input.
Meanwhile, Vice President of the Alpha United, Steve Ninvalle and coach of the said team, Wayne Dover both commended the players for a job well done. Said Ninvalle, “A few years ago, Alpha was in the doldrums and then Lumumba decided to dedicate time and finance towards their elevation; Alpha is now the leading team locally.” Ninvalle further noted that the majority of the patrons had gone to the venue in the hope that Alpha would have lost then match. “Alpha is now the drawing card of local football,” he contended.
Dover conceded while acknowledging the mental and financial input of President Jagdeo. “The players’ dedication and commitment must also be noted,” said Mr. Dover.
He further stated that the entire team is indeed happy with the results of months of diligent preparation. Mr. Lumumba summed it up, “We took on the establishment over the issue of gross underpayment; we managed to institute certain changes and we went on to win the tournament, indeed we are satisfied.”
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