The Guyana Football Federation (GFF) Elite League concluded last Sunday at the Georgetown Football Club (GFC) ground when Champions Fruta Conquerors ended their season on a high with a 1-0 victory over rivals Western Tigers that had obtained some former players from the Tucville based club.
With the third season of Guyana’s premier football tournament done and dusted, there have been calls from some stakeholders for the GFF to scrap the league but Chairman of the GFF’s Competition’s Committee, Ian Alves, along with head of the GFF, Wayne Forde, both announced that the game’s local governing body is quickly putting measures in place for season four while highlighting the objectives of the tournament.
”The league is a work in progress; we will not entertain any discussion pertaining to shutting down the league. Guyana has invented too many leagues, we went from the premier league, to the super league and most of them have not lasted more than two years and if we are going to be changing and reinventing frequently, then the stakeholders will lose confidence in us. The elite league is here to stay and we will continue to invest in the product which is integral to the national programme.”
Without accounting for the $8.5million in prize money, approximately $40million has been spent on the clubs’ match fees, transportation and meals, and the GFF boss noted that it is a necessary investment.
From the administrators’ stand point a positive of the league was the fact that it saw keen rivalry with season II champions Guyana Defence Force Football Club (GDF FC) finishing second along with league debutants Den Amstel FC ending in third place and Western Tigers, fourth.
”The elite league season three was quite a competitive league, judging from the fact even right down to the last few match days there was still debate as to which club will come out as champions,” posited Alves. He explained that the league was scheduled to be completed earlier but the prolonged rainy season resulted in many match days being postponed due to waterlogged venues.
During the interview with Kaieteur Sport, it was noted that the limited fan support was a bugbear for the commercial value of the league but Forde noted that although commercial opportunities are important, “The league allows maximum development not just for the players but also towards the administrative capacity building within the clubs because if you’re doing something consistently you ought to be getting there.”
Venues are a major challenge for Guyana’s football and will continue to be a problem in the next couple of years and while it may be a better decision from a commercial stand point to host games at the city grounds where it is more accessible to the larger fan base but going all the way to the National Track and Field Facility (NTFC) at Leonora is better.
It may not be the best decision from an attendance stand point but if the surface and condition does not lend itself to a proper quality game or protects the players from possible injuries, then it will be defeating the key objective of Guyana’s premier tournament of developing our players and we cannot sacrifice the development and safety of our players,” Forde explained.
Along with the $5million cash prize, Fruta Conquerors have gained automatic qualification into the 2019 Caribbean Club Championship.
Although the GFF is not responsible for funding a club for their participation in the Championship, Forde has indicated that he will do whatever he can to ensure that there isn’t a repeat of non-participation from Guyana’s champion club as was the case with the GDF this year due to the fact that the Army men didn’t raise enough funds to travel.
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