Saturday April 12 marks one year since the Christopher Matthias-led administration was elected to govern the Guyana Football Federation. Stabroek Sport asked a number of coaches what they thought about the administration’s performance during the first year of overseeing the affairs of the sport.
Lloyd Millington, Riddim Squad Head Coach – ‘For the year, in terms of achievement I would give kudos because at least they run the Premier League. In terms of the unity in the football, I think there is a lot more to be done. I would like to see everyone in football get equal opportunity in terms of hosting tournaments. I think that the Kashif and Shanghai should get the opportunity to continue what they have been doing at the club level. In terms of administration, I would like some of the administrative matters to be dealt with in a timely manner and for a lot of the committees to be put in the place to deal different aspects of the game. In closing I would like to see a more inclusive style of governance where everyone gets a say and everyone gets equal opportunity in taking part in football.’
Calvin ‘Fluman’ Allen, Fruta Conquerors Head Coach – ‘To be honest it hasn’t been the best year for football in terms of the amount of football being played. There has been controversy here and there. From what I was made to understand he took over with a lot to do and with a lot of in-house cleaning to do. A year is not adequate to judge his performance and I think we should give him a little more time. What I would like to see at the same time is more youth football being focused on. Otherwise, he is an approachable person and I would like to see him succeed because it would be good for Guyana football. A year is not enough time to judge, hopefully in another year he can get things right and Guyana football can move from strength to strength.’
O’Neil Heywood, Den Amstel Porknockers Head Coach – ‘The first three months it was very interesting and getting a smooth flow, getting the crowd and getting the support. He (the President) use to come at games and his presence use to contribute to a lot towards it. After that, coming on to the latter part of the year, the league deteriorated. The support around was good enough [but] there was too much of pulling and tugging, which caused segregation… The unity of the GFF was not there with the vice presidents resigning and the chaos started then. Apart from that, I like the management in terms of the accountability and transparency in terms of what the president speaks about all the time. Guyana football can go a far way but we need cooperation among ourselves. Nobody isn’t giving anybody a chance to do anything. It’s only year and they expect him right all the wrongs in the past in one year.’
Brian Joseph, Milerock Head Coach – ‘I think having had some face to face discussions with the president and trying to get an understanding of how he wanted to approach the development of the game, it was clear that competition and matches were not going to be the ultimate priority. It was clear that the priority was going to be to structure, the game, the clubs administratively and work from the top coming down to the bottom.
Regarding international matches, I don’t know what sort of negotiation they would have had but in the same light I don’t think our country would have really benefited from having international matches simply because there wasn’t a lot of football played locally. We would have just created a vacuum of recycling the same players to just to say you’re playing football. That would be a continuation of the previous year. In my opinion, the federation has not been able to nail down exactly which part of the development they really want to focus on because our recommendation from the coaches’ perspective and the technical committee would have been to start from the lower areas.
Obviously you would know that there are suggestions that we will participate in the Caribbean club which will be senior again and that is obviously in contradiction to that recommendation of what we would have discussed to start in the lower areas. Administratively the federation has not managed to bring all the associations under its wing in a good way. They haven’t gained the trust of the individual associations.
Wayne Dover, Alpha United Head Coach/Guyana Football Coaches Association President – ‘The ultimate thing is football and for the administrators to run it. Football is on the field and the administrators need to understand it’s not about them. It has met a stage where it is so painful to see football is not being played at every level in Guyana. While each and every association has the responsibility to run their own domestic programme from nursery to senior, if those things are neglected by the association then the national body has a mandate to ensure football is run at every level which should only aid in the development of the sport throughout the nation. For many years we as people involved in football are seeing the neglect of our junior players which is the very players who represent the future and that is the reason why from a personal standpoint our future will be bleak. In a year, to see no football played at the international level is not something I am quite happy with. From the FIFA World Cup qualifiers playing at the third round which is the highest Guyana has reached in its existence, we as a nation should have been building on that. Unfortunately we have regressed in the way we deal with our national programme.’
Herbert McPherson, Buxton United Head Coach – ‘I think it was good; better than last time. More football has been playing and for Guyana especially that is good. The federation handled football reasonably, the whole football improved and with the World Cup around, it hype up the football. As a person involved in the sport, football should be the winner, because it is the players that suffer. The people that administrate the sport when they make bad decisions, most of the time it is the players who suffer most. However I am pleased with how things are. Once football playing that is what I love.’