– FIFA / CONCACAF must speak definitively now
By Rawle Welch
Many are referring to it as a tsunami, that is the sudden destruction of Guyana’s football and while fingers could be pointed to many disruptive developments including two aborted Congresses, the vast majority believe the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) and more directly its President is responsible for the predicament that the game currently finds itself in.
While one could argue that GFF President Christopher Matthias has not had been afforded the opportunity to enjoy a day in office without some form of opposition and resistance, his visible stance to not engage pertinent stakeholders have not worked to his advantage, but rather to his detriment and may also have caused the game irreparable harm at least in the short term.
While most observers agreed that Guyana’s football needed a change in its administrative structure following the exodus of former President Colin Klass, who was banned by FIFA in the ‘Cash for Votes’ scandal, the current President seems not to have a clue on how to improve the fortunes of a sport which is classified as the biggest global spectacle bar none.
Guyana’s display in the preliminary phase of the just concluded 2014 World Cup was the impetus that the game so badly needed locally following years of underdevelopment and undisputed stagnation, and one would have thought that coming after the country’s best showing in the world’s most watched global event, would have been a continuation on the path of growth which could have ultimately garnered respect among our CONCACAF counterparts and more importantly financial increase.
The ‘Golden Jaguars’ achievements would have almost guaranteed international friendlies against the top teams in CONCACAF, since our performance in the WC qualifiers received much attention from the region’s powerhouses including Mexico and Costa Rica.
We were grouped with the big boys and this meant playing in larger capacity Stadiums and therefore bigger financial returns thereby assisting the GFF in alleviating the inherent debt burden.
But what happened next is somewhat of a nightmare, Guyana’s football went into a freefall with administrators constantly making the news for all the wrong reasons, engaging in public tit for tat, evidently neglecting the most vital component that made us dangerous opponents for teams in CONCACAF which are the players.
While the officials displayed a sad and surprising lack of maturity, the players and the sport languished on the sidelines and Guyana’s football suffered the same fate like the old nursery rhyme ‘Humpty Dumpty’ who had a great fall that not even the Kings men and horses could not put him back together again.
Hopefully, while the pieces have been scattered and shattered, FIFA/CONCACAF will see the need very shortly to stop the incessant bleeding in Guyana’s football and save the careers of our footballers, especially those who’ve dedicated their lives to the sport.
Matthias is not the only one to blame, but because he has the unenviable task of being in the chair of the Body that has governance over the sport here, a function that is recognized by FIFA/CONCACAF/CFU, he is the one expected to rise above the pettiness and either get solutions to the many problems that beset the sport currently or stridently remonstrate to the three governing bodies to punish officials who’re bent on hindering the development of the sport, be it he or any other.
The current President cannot continue to deceive himself; he needs the support of a full management team to run the affairs of Guyana’s football and because this is not the case presently we are seeing the manifestation of failure.
The Associations that walked out of the two Congresses should also feel the brunt of FIFA/CONCACAF decisions, they too behaved reckless in the presence of visiting officials from the two Bodies and it is clear that their posture during Matthias’ tenure is not consistent with development so they too must not escape punishment.
There are examples of officials being debarred from holding office in football in quite a few countries and these disgruntled officials must be made to pay for their actions similarly.
Guyana’s football landscape needs new faces and a new breed of administrators, persons who will put the development of the sport and its participants ahead of selfish ambitions and financial gains.
It is time FIFA/CONCACAF speak and do so definitively, sparing no one found guilty of impeding the sport’s advancement or even illegally profiting from the sport.
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