Basking in the success of the Ladies performance in Argentina earlier this year and more significantly Guyana’s surge up the FIH Women’s ranking to #38 and national goalkeeper Alysa Xavier’s call up on the on the Pan Am Elite team, President of the Guyana Hockey Board (GHB) Philip Fernandes in giving his assessment of the sport’s performance said it has been a laudable one and worthy of praise.
Fernandes, who is the national female coach speaking with Kaieteur Sport recently commended the efforts of the executive of the Board as well as all the players, coaches, well wishers and members of the corporate community who all joined together to make the year a successful one.
“I think that because all the components came together in a big way, it has enabled the sport to make a strong resurgence, one which has seen us reap the rewards for the hard work that started some 2-3 years ago when we embarked on our mission to get to the Pan Am Cup, while the work done by the coaches in the schools has also borne fruit as evidenced by the appearance of a crop of young talented players which augurs well for the future of the game here,” Fernandes mentioned.
Asked to pinpoint some of the significant achievements for the year, Fernandes disclosed the increased number of tournaments staged, both local and international, Guyana being the biggest climber on the FIH recent ranking and the sharp and admirable swell in new players in the sport, are all major accomplishments.
Fernandes, however, felt that the national women participation for the first time in the prestigious PAHF Cup in Argentina was probably the most important achievement for the year.
“While the team finished at the bottom of the eight-team PAHF Cup, this tournament was well beyond the expected reach of Guyana and for them to be ranked 16 in Pan Am and qualify to compete with the top 8 was a fantastic achievement in itself. The ladies have moved to a rank of #8 in PAHF. From relative obscurity, the Guyana women’s national team has risen over the past three years to challenging for a spot among the top teams of the confederation.
The GHB Head once again lamented the absence of an artificial surface which he blamed for Guyana not being a more potent force in the Caribbean earlier, but reminded that the players through steadfast commitment has slowly, but surely emerged as legitimate contenders within the Region.
“I think we will continue to struggle a bit in the outdoors due to quite a few impediments such as less than ideal pitches, poor lighting facilities, constant flooding of outfields and the unavailability of grounds, especially when cricket is being played,” Fernandes stated.
Fernandes also spoke of the challenge faced by kids from the poorer communities who he revealed usually struggle to procure proper equipment due to the cost of such.
He pointed to the recent announcement of a national men’s team who will be aiming to participate in the PAHF Indoor Championships in April next year in Uruguay, along with the Ladies who have an opportunity to participate in the CAC Games as among the main focus for next year.
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