Revamp of the school’s system needed for local sports to improve
By Sean Devers
In Guyana, the grass roots of coaching generally goes unnoticed by those who are directly not involved in it. Grass-root Coaches like 67-year-old Mooniram Persaud most times are never acclaimed which means they are hardly likely to become famous or even well known.
But what it does is provide the satisfaction knowing that they are helping to make a difference in the lives of many young people.
Persaud was born on January 5, 1953 at the Schoonard hospital in the West Bank of Demerara and grew up in Goed Fortuin Housing Scheme, a stone throw away from where the Versailles Community Centre Ground was once located.
He had three children, but only two are alive and they were not competitive in any sports. However, his grandson Alexandre DeAbreu made the national Mini cadet under elevens team that toured Jamaica in 2016.
“I attended Goed Fortuin Government and secondary schools. I started playing cricket in the school yard and then went to the Versailles Community Centre Ground and saw the seniors playing cricket and table tennis. I played cricket at the boy’s club level and was soon captain of my school.
I then was selected to the senior team because of the talent that I showed as a sixteen-year-old, I then joined the Malteenoes in 1972 and played at the Case Cup (first division) level under Rex Collymore’s captaincy,” Persaud recalled of his days of as a Cricketer.
He was among the best young players in Guyana and was invited to Bensons and Hedge Regional U-19 trials in 1972-1973 and managed to make the standby list.
“After I was not selected for the Guyana under 19 team and was not invited to the Demerara senior trials, I decided I wanted to be a cricket coach,” Persaud explained how he got involved in Coaching cricket.
Persuad said he was motivated by former West Indies batsman Joe Solomon whom he feels was one of the best cricket coaches in Guyana.
It was when he joined Mae’s primary school at Carifesta Avenue in 1995 that he developed an interest in being a Table Tennis Coach.
“At Mae’s school I would conduct coaching for cricket at the Guyana Softball Association groundand after a couple of weeks at Mae’s School I became aware that the kids loved table tennis and cricket. The school offered me the opportunity to attend several coaching seminars in cricket and table tennis.
After the school won the school’s National Table Tennis championship in 1997 [as a primary school] I was offered opportunity to do level 1 ITTF table tennis coaching certificate and was successfully in doing so.
I was then selected along with Linden Johnson for a five-week programme in 2007 in the People’s Republic of China. I was also offered to do the 2 [two] certification and was successful along with Linden Johnson and Raynor Copter Anderson,” continued Persaud who has been the Physical Education teacher at Mae’s school for over two decades.
According to the hard working Persaud, some of the players that represented Guyana who came through his tutelage are Azruddin Mohamed, Jonathan Sankar, -Trennace Lowe, Zack Gonzales, Brandon Baldie, Nigel Bryan, Shemar Britton, Miguel Wong, Yeudister Persaud, Navindra Persaud, Brandon Jaikarran, Niran Bishu, Kayson Ninvalle, Krystian Sahadeo, Jonathan Vanlange, Alexandre DeAbreu Tiara Narain and Danesh Persaud.
Yeudister Persaud, Navindra Persaud and Niran Bishu also play cricket for Guyana.
“I enjoy passing on my knowledge to the youngsters and get satisfaction when they are selected to represent Guyana.
I have been coaching for 24 years and my proudest moment is when my grandson Alexandre DeAbreure presented Guyana in the mini cadet competition in Jamaica,” disclosed the proud grandfather.
He said this generation feels they are entitled to everything and seem not to cherish the opportunities they are given.
“Sports in my time was easy to access through the school system and the (Bookers and later Guysuco) Sugar Estate sports programmes. I was motivated by looking at the older guys practicing at the Versailles Community Centre Ground…. It was free of cost. Now being involved in sports is expensive and the youths today seem not to cherish the opportunities and coaching that they are receiving.
Some of the things that can be improved in the standard of Guyana is a complete revamp of the school’s sports system from nursery school to secondary school and the availability of sports equipment at a cheaper cost, also the development of sports in the rural areas,” added Persaud.
“My biggest challenge as a grass root coach is to get young people to be more attentive during coaching sessions [explaining and demonstrating] I will continue to coach young people as long I am fit.
I wish to see Guyana win more medals at the Olympics and also to see West Indies cricket to reach to the top again. I have worked with cricket coaches as follows; Orin Bailey, Mark Harper, Mike Hayles Franco, Ravendranath Seeram and Kavita Yadram and in tennis Sydney Christophe, Linden Johnson and Dwayne Dick,” concluded Persaud whose wish is for Guyana to develop more in Sports and for the West Indies to win in England.
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