Number of changes implemented to strengthen
By Franklin Wilson
The FINALE of the Stag Elite League (SEL) organised by the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) is set to unfold from Friday at the Guyana Defence Force Ground with a double header from17:30hrs.
Winner of the GENESIS (first half) of the league, Slingerz FC will oppose Pele FC in the opener with second place Alpha United FC set to face Fruta Conquerors in the night capper of what is anticipated to be two exciting duels.
Following what was deemed as a successful first half of the league, GFF President Wayne Forde in the presence of main sponsor Ansa McAl Public Relations Officer Ms. Darshanie Yussuf and other officials from the two entities as well as Coaches of three of the clubs updated the media yesterday at the GFF on varying aspects of the league.
Ms. Yussuf noted that her company was elated to be in partnership with the GFF for its marquee competition which from all reviews has made a positive impact so far. She also commended the Normalisation Committee (NC) which made the initial approach and it is now being further cemented under the recently elected executive of the federation.
When the two (NC and Ansa McAl) sides initially met, Yussuf informed that the investment as put forward by the NC was huge and a lot to commit to right away but when they realized the potential of the investment, the decision to commit was a foregone conclusion.
“It couldn’t have been a no decision, that decision was made right at that initial meeting. That sit down was where the commitment was made. I am so grateful that this proposal was put forward to us and what it has been doing for football.”
The raising of the standard of the game through the SEL which has contributed to the national grid is already history Yussuf lamented noting that the FINALE will take it to a different level.
“Just imagine this is just the first year and we have already seen results, we have already seen football take on a different level where the number of fans who came out on a Wednesday, Friday and Sunday’s were record numbers.”
Yussuf reminded that her company is committed to supporting not only at the highest level but also at the grassroots level with the Stag Crown Your Community initiative along with support for leagues in other associations.
The GFF she said would have made suggestions on how the league can be improved and based on that, her company has agreed to increase its sponsorship which will see the teams ending in the bottom four of the league earning an appearance fee rather than walking away without anything.
Trophies, which would not have been a part of the contract, would also be undertaken by Ansa McAl.
President Forde complimented and thanked Ansa McAl for their commitment to the development of the game noting that they came on board at a time when nothing was going on for the game. Thanks were also extended to E-Networks, COURTS Guyana Ltd., and Knight Rider Bus Service who are also partners of the Stag Elite League.
Its was noted by the president that they are working on extending partnerships and over the next few days additional relationships would be announced with a view of broadening the base of the tournament.
Among the new initiatives that will be put in place are as put forward by Forde and First VP Rawlston Adams are:
1. The ticketing process/system at all matches would be handled by the Lions Club;
2. Ansa McAl will contribute to the game fees for each player. The GFF has been paying each player a game fee of $2000;
3. Ansa McAl will look at the possibility of distributing the profits from the bar at matches;
4. Photo IDs of elected Association executives would be used for access at matches;
5. SEL is going to be videoed. The GFF has found an investment partner out of Canada and a You Tube Channel has been acquired where matches would be uploaded. Three Professional Cameras have been shipped to facilitate this;
6. All the concession rights at matches have been passed on to the clubs that own venues in order for clubs to improve their revenue earning ability. The intention is to empower clubs Forde noted.
Forde also implored upon the media to work along with the GFF in its quest to launch a new platform of professionalism for the game.
“In the past there has been quite an inclination to lean towards news items that don’t necessarily display the best aspect of football in Guyana. I want to ask you guys to do your utmost, to focus heavily on the aspect of football that really sells the game and present it in a completely different frame to the Guyana football public, fans, government and corporate Guyana.”
The league Genesis and Finale champions will meet in a champion of champion’s showdown towards the end of May, GFF Director of Competitions Ian Alves shared. He further stated that if Slingerz happens to be the winner of both the Genesis and Finale then they will play an all star line up.
“I can assure you that you can look forward to some very competitive matches, in fact, clubs have already been indicating to me that they will come out as the club and not Slingerz even as Slingerz is expressing the same sentiments.”
Coaches attending yesterday’s press briefing also shared their views:
Kavin Pearce – Assistant Coach Slingerz FC
Champions of the GENESIS segment of the league, Pearce, an experienced coach who has also served at the National level said they started preseason training since January and are looking forward to the FINALE.
It would not be all smooth sailing for the nation’s top side since a number of key players have transferred from the club including three of their main defensive players.
Quizzed on what they have done to strengthen the team, Pearce said that they have added five new players to the roster including one from Brazil and one from Grenada. Working more hard in the final half of the league will be priority for his side Pearce said.
He also commented on the SEL: “Competition is more high, where teams are playing high intensity and it’s not like the normal leagues. Each team prepares properly; normally teams would prepare for 25 and 35 minutes in the Park. But now teams are preparing for two hours so you know that the magnitude of endurance and everything is up so you know that players are ready for the next level.”
Wayne Dover – Head Coach Alpha United
An experienced tactician who has coached both Guyana’s male and female national teams, Dover, current assistant to Golden Jaguars Head Coach Jamaal Shabazz has presided over Alpha United for the past five years.
He shared that they have been in training for the past six weeks where they have embarked on a number of matches and he is comfortable with the level of progress displayed by his charges so far.
“I think the SEL is a blessing for football in Guyana. I have not seen a competitive league of this nature in years and as Coach Pearce said, a lot of teams are very competitive and training much harder.”
Alpha too has seen some players leave while they have also gained with a number of players returning to their roster for the new season.
“We have looked at the necessary areas to be strengthened and we have made the necessary signings that would see us regain that top position that we have held over the years.”
Lack of consistency, failure to convert chances as well as defensive blunders were some of the areas of lack for Alpha in the Genesis of the league.
“Now we’ve worked diligently on the defensive organization, we’ve also increased the number of offensive players who could convert chances and we hope now that we can see a much more consistent performance in these games to come so that we can get the necessary results needed to triumph at the end of the Finale.”
Calvin Allen – Head Coach Fruta Conquerors
He noted that they commenced preparations just over six weeks ago and it has been progressing to their satisfaction.
“We are now fine tuning going through our tactical preparations. The club is in a good place at the moment, we have strengthened a bit. As a coach I would also like to commend the GFF for the work they have done, I think it’s one of the best leagues I’ve ever seen in this country, honestly.
It’s been the most competitive ever and it’s no easy game, it’s no walk in the park. You have to get your preparation right and that’s our focus and hopefully we can a bit higher that we did in the Genesis.”
Fitness will be one of the hallmarks for the young Conquerors team Coach Allen noted.
“We are not only building a club to compete in the SEL but we are building a club that will last. The players that we are bringing in are all quality players some of them with national experience. With time we’ll be there.”
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