Jan 12, 2021 Sports
Guyana’s preparation for Regional Super50 affected – Anand Sanasie
By Sean Devers
Kaieteur News – The Guyana Football Federation (GFF), the Kashif and Shanghai Organisation and the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport collaborated for the return of football after the shut-down of sports since March due to pandemic.
The Bounce Back Football tournament which included Linden All-Stars, East Coast All-Stars, West Side All-Stars and Georgetown All-Stars, was contested at the Providence Stadium, on Tuesday, December 29, and New year’s Day.
The parties involved were showered with praises for a job well done while the tournament provided plenty of entertainment for Football fans in and outside of Guyana watching the on two local TV networks and streaming live.
The only negative aspect of the highly successful venture was that the matches were played at the Providence Stadium, Guyana’s lone International cricket venue and badly damaged by the Footballers.
Secretary of the Guyana Cricket (GCB) Anand Sanasie is up in arms that a club Football Tournament was played in the rain at the Providence Stadium which was built to host the Super Eight matches in the 2007 Cricket World Cup held in March and April 2007.
“Nowhere in the world would anyone play club football on an International cricket ‘Square’ (area where the pitches are laid) in the rain. We wrote to the Stadium last week to seek permission for usage to prepare the 50-over Regional Squad with some game assimilation sessions. We are yet to get a response,” Sanasie stated.
When contacted, Stadium Manager Anthony Xavier confirmed that he had received the request letter from the GCB but indicated that their request could not be granted because of the extent of the damage caused by the Footballers at the only ground in Guyana where senior Regional Cricket is played.
“The six pitches on the square and almost the entire playing area on the ground, including the bowler’s run-ups are in a terrible condition due the Football which was played there in the rain,” lamented Xavier.
Xavier disclosed that according Head Curator at the Stadium Wazim Habib, it should take at least six weeks to get the venue back to a suitable condition host cricket.
Habib,who was named best Groundsman of the 2018 CPL, is one of the best Curators in the West Indies and a couple of years ago spent time in Christchurch and Auckland in New Zealand where he witnessed how pitches are prepared from an international perspective.
The GFF’s National Training Centre at Providence hosted matches during the Petra/KFC goodwill tournament in December 2019 and could have hosted the two-night football event while International Football has not been played at Providence Stadium since the National Track and Field Centre hosted matches in CONCACAF qualifiers in 2018 and the two night tournament could have been played there underlights.
Providence has hosted two Tests and 22 ODIs including the historic match between Sri Lanka and South Africa in the 2007 World Cup when Sri Lankan fast bowler Lasith Malinga became the first bowler in international cricket history to take four wickets in four consecutive balls and the historic three Day/Night matches during the 2016 Tri Series involving West Indies, Australia and South Africa. This series represents the first time that every ODI match was played under floodlights in the Caribbean.
Providence hosted its first Test Match in 2008, with Sri Lanka as the visiting team and another in May 2011 when the West Indies defeated Pakistan. With the advent of the Caribbean Premier League the stadium became the home ground for the Guyana Amazon Warriors franchise.
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