Oct 13, 2015 Sports
By Edison Jefford
Guyana’s rugby scored another good ‘try’ on Saturday when it was announced that a local giant in
telecommunications had entered into a three-year sponsorship arrangement worth $13 million with the Guyana Rugby Football Union (GRFU).
It came as no surprise that the announcement of such a lucrative package came the week after the election of a new youthful Executive with Peter Green still at the helm. There is no doubt that the bold move to opt for youth bequeathed confidence in the corporate giants.
It stands to reason therefore (as was hinted in my first analysis on the election of the new GRFU Executive “Good ‘try’ for Guyana’s rugby”) that many associations are struggling with development programmes because sponsors may be weary with some of the same old faces, who are still in leadership.
I had suggested that the GRFU elections could be the beginning of a revolution that is necessary to change the face of sport administration in Guyana. The consequence of such a revolution was pellucid last Saturday when GRFU signed its multi-million dollar deal.
Guyana’s rugby scored another good ‘try’, following closely on the heels of the first ‘try’ when it elected a youthful administrative organisation. That move ricocheted in the mind of the sponsor, the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GTT+) that obviously jumped at an opportunity to support youth and sport development.
The company’s Senior Marketing Manager, Anjanie Hackett, implied that fact, when she stated, from reports, that the support is to develop the sport at the national level and to develop the sport and athletes over the next three years at $4.5 million per annum.
Hackett also spoke about the potential that rugby has to grow and “become something special.” It was a statement of confidence in youth to deliver the goods and a mandate to the Union to ensure that rugby gets back to the zenith of performance. GTT+ must be commended for this initiative. It is hoped that other conglomerates emulate such efforts.
The sponsorship arrangement may have been in the pipelines before the GRFU Elections, but the result of the elections inspired the sponsor. This could very well be one of the blueprints for other sport associations to set about a much-needed revivification.
It is expected that with the financial impetus of GTT+, and others, because more sponsorship will certainly be required, Guyana’s rugby can surpass where it was during 2006-2011. The qualified rugby coach, Theodore Henry should be given the resources to rebuild a national unit that will be able to continue scrumming overseas.
Meanwhile, domestically, Green and his team should develop grassroots programmes so that the nursery of the sport remains vibrant and strong. Nevertheless, resources should be pumped into a flag- bearing national unit to ensure they continue to succeed internationally.
The point is Green has no excuse now. In the past, he had complained about lack of sponsorship when Guyana missed an important tour. Those complaints should dissipate with this injection of funds and results should be the expectation of all aficionados.
As with Guyana’s male hockey team, natural ability alone will not suffice internationally. Phillip Fernandes, President of the Guyana Hockey Board, recognises that fact, and has been calling for an artificial surface in Guyana eons now.
Holistically, the national teams with potential as the Men’s rugby and hockey teams must get the support they need to continue to publicise Guyana to the world. In the context of this analysis, an enterprising GRFU must now lay the foundation for consistent success.
The ongoing Rugby World Cup in England ought to be enough motivation and inspiration for the youthful Union.
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