By Iva Wharton and Yonalla Dalrymple
Prime Minister Samuel Hinds yesterday said he was glad to see the resurgence of the game of football adding that he hopes to see football teams in every school in the future a move he deemed necessary for the further development of the sport.
Hinds made those remarks whiledeclaring open the second annual Banks Beer/GFA Cup in front of more than three hundred persons at the opening ceremony at the Georgetown Cricket Club, Ground, Bourda.
“And we hope too that football would become an important feature in our tourism industry,” Hinds added pointing out that the sport can definitely be something that tourists can be interested in.
President of the Georgetown Football Association (GFA) Vernon Burnett, in his remarks, said the association was once again pleased to have partnered with Banks DIH Limited and the Banks Beer brand.
“I am sure that come next year we will be bigger and better. To you, the teams, I know that you have been training hard for this tournament and I am sure that the best team will win the tournament. To you the spectators I thank you for always sticking with us and some of you will sure walk away with some beautiful prizes.”
Banks DIH Marketing Executive Carlton Joao said in 2011 when the tournament was proposed to them, it was taken under consideration but after then everything else was history. “The players have the opportunity to play and showcase their skills,” said Joao, adding that the tournament has the potential to develop the sport and players alike.
City Mayor Hamilton Green said that over the years the game of football has grown in Guyana, but said there needs to be an end to the division for that growth to continue.
“I understand that in the the East there is another tournament which ought not to be. I just hope that my remarks will be energizing to those who organize football.”
He, however, said that sport should benefit all Guyana and not just one particular group which did not resonate well with Director of Sport, Neil Kumar who in his remarks refuted the claims, citing that the government has over the years contributed significantly to the develop of sport in Guyana.
Prior to the speeches there was the ceremonial march past of teams contesting the tournament. Twenty two teams were named to contest the tournament, but only sixteen will compete in the round of sixteen, which is the knock out stage.
Meanwhile, GFA officials were true to their word that the water would have been drained off the ground in order for the competition to continue as planned.
However, parts of the ground were still soggy but that did not deter Sunburst Camptown and Houston Stars from playing the first match.
Minutes before the start of the first game the crowd had begun to build up to witness the teams in action.