May 21, 2013 Sports
By Michael Benjamin
President of the Alpha ‘The Hammer’ United FC, Odinga Lumumba, has always boasted his club is the best locally. The local ball weavers have once again endorsed that boast when they tucked another prestigious accolade under their belt after attaining an unassailable 41 points after playing 16 games in the current National Super League and are scheduled to play their final two games on Sunday May 26th and June 2nd next against Western Tigers and Den Amstel, respectively. Last week, the Alpha FC embarrassed Amelia’s Ward, 8-0 and followed up that victory with another crunching win over Milerock FC, whom they defeated 7-1 Sunday afternoon last at the GFC Ground, Bourda.
However, amidst such glowing achievements all is not well and coach of that unit, Wayne ‘Wiggy’ Dover is critical of the many administrative faux pas that characterized the tournament and is calling on football administrators to rectify those ills if the sport is to develop.
Mr. Dover had, only seconds prior to a discussion with Kaieteur Sport, taken his charges through a rigid training period while attributing their accomplishments to hard work and discipline. He said that the National League provided worthwhile competition but lacked the required standard necessary for his charges to make an international transition.
He said that many of the venues were not of the required standard and singled out the Wisburg ground in Linden where his team played Amelia’s Ward. “The ground was not conducive to football, was riddled with large cow holes, was uneven, and generally posed a danger to the players,” explained Mr. Dover. He also said that the ground was not properly demarcated, lent an unprofessional aura to the game and did not speak highly of the organizers.
Mr. Dover further expressed dissatisfaction by the lack of communication between football administrators and the management of the Alpha FC. He said that the League was supposed to be a launching pad to the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) championship with the best team emerging from the local league going on to participate. He said that his boys were looking forward to participation in this tournament.
However, their hopes were shattered when they were informed that the host organization had joined with CONCACAF and professionalized the tournament. He said that the Alpha FC is still to attain professional status and as such, was debarred from the tournament. He reiterated the need for a Pro League saying that its absence would stymie the advancement and development of local players which would impact negatively on the sport. “Alpha has participated in the CFU championships for 4 years in succession and was looking forward to a fifth outing,” intimated Dover.
He said that he learned that a document informing of the changes was dispatched to the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) but he only learned about the new format through Trinidadian coach, Jamaal Shabazz.
Dover was not the only person to be peeved by the developments; goalkeeper, Richard Reynolds also feels that the tournament was improperly structured. He said that the Wisburg ground debacle was a classical example of poor administration. He questioned the state of the venue while saying that it was obvious it was not subject to an inspection of the match commissioners. “Even the changing rooms left a lot to be desired and most times the players had to change their clothing in the wide public,” lamented Reynolds.
Top footballer, Gregory ‘Jackie Chan’ Richards participated in all four episodes of the tournament and substantiated that the current League is the most poorly organized. He said that the teams were ill prepared as were the grounds. He also said that there appeared to be a lack of proper organization. “It’s the worst League I’ve participated in,” he adamantly declared.
While the prognosis is disheartening, Coach Dover said that he will continue tutoring his charges even amidst the many vicissitudes. The players are engaged in daily sessions at the GFC Ground weekdays up to 11:00hrs.
Mr. Dover admits that it is relatively early for the Christopher Matthias executive to enact the necessary changes for the sport and while he (Dover) is cognizant of the financial challenges and the debt inherited by the newly elected body, he is optimistic that things can change for the better. “We just have to remain focused and work towards the goal,” he declares.
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