The carnivalesque GFA/Banks Beer Tournament reflected both highs and lows which will enthuse the organizers and also send them back to the drawing board.
Central to any tournament’s success and longevity is crowd support and appeal. The patronage of the event was simply incredible as large crowds flocked to the varying venues to show solidarity with the organizers at every competitive fixture. Administratively and financially the tournament was a huge success, easily surpassing expectations of organizers as they were blessed with patronage numbering in the thousands at every competitive fixture. None more evident than the zenith of the event which was simply a carnival like experience of considerable proportions.
The most intriguing subplot of the event has to be Northern Rangers Football Club’s fairytale campaign. Possessing neither the history nor the overall quality of the more seasoned units, the Kitty outfit marshaled skillfully under the tutelage of Coach Gordon “Ultimate Warrior” Braithwaite, clearly illustrated that hard work and perseverance can overcome natural ability. This is palpably evident as victories over Blueberry Hill FC, Santos FC and Guyana Defence Force FC attest to their giant killing moniker.
The other bright spot was certainly the Kwakwani Strikers FC and their precocious custodian Deon Jacobs, who was simply superb between the uprights, cementing his claim as the event’s best young player. The reemergence of the Linden teams from their footballing dormancy was certainly a breath of fresh air, as they acquitted themselves valiantly further securing their services in future tournament editions.
Not possessing the football parlance of seasoned pundits, commentary from GFA secretary Chris Mathias was surprisingly entertaining and amusing as he blended the pageantry of the occasion with jocular gestures to keep the large crowds enthused during proceedings.
Competitively the tournament could have been better with lopsided results a constant theme in the earlier rounds. Creative output was stymied for the most part by inclement weather as the nature of the surface was not conducive to attractive football, leading to stop-start affairs rather than free flowing encounters.
Officiating was simply sub-standard throughout as questionable and dubious calls became common place. These unfortunate but frequent events generally leave a bad taste on proceedings.
This must be rectified as it has the potential to alter games dramatically, none more evident than the Riddim Squad versus Guyana Defence Force encounter. Remedial training will certainly help to curb this problem.
Synonymous with youth development and progress, the biggest disappointment of the event has to be pre tournament favourites and “perennial bridesmaids” Fruta Conquerors. Blessed with the talent and possessing the tactical intellect of a championship calibre team, it’s puzzling that its ascendency to the throne of the fabled has been nothing short of disappointing for the boys from Tucville as the silverware continues to elude their desperate grasps.