The cash-strapped Guyana Rugby Football Union (GRFU) may have to forfeit its NACRA 15s final fixture unless it garners government and corporate support to offset the team’s travel expenses.
According to president of the union, Peter Green, the championship final is scheduled for June 28 with the higher ranked team (by NACRA 2013 Rankings) playing host to Guyana.
At the moment both USA South #1 and Cayman Islands #3 are billed to clash on Saturday to determine the winner of the Northern zone to play number five ranked Guyana.
However, the union cannot afford the cost of travelling to either the USA or Cayman Islands at the risk of bankrupting itself and participating in this year’s NACRA Sevens championships with the higher stakes involved in qualifying for the 2015 Pan American Games as well as 2016 Olympics.
For the contingent comprising 23 players and three officials, it would cost the union in the neighborhood of $8M to attend the final (USA in Atlanta), $4M in Miami or $6M for Cayman Islands.
Said Green: “Should we be unable to raise the funds to play either of the two teams we will have no choice than to forfeit the match with its resulting negative consequences. We already ran into a $1.5M debt in pulling out all the stops to see the team well prepared to date despite the generous sponsorship of Banks DIH whom I must commend for ensuring that the sport is kept alive by their timely interventions.”
The GRFU will certainly need the assistance of the government and the corporate community to fly further north.
Green says he intends to appeal to the Ministry of Sport and corporate entities while lobbying NACRA to have the fixture played on local soil.
“The alternative to which we will be lobbying NACRA, is to have the game played at home here (which would actually be more advantageous to their coffers). Nevertheless in view of the current stance by NACRA with their decisions we will have to assume that its either USA or Cayman Islands for the venue whichever team wins this coming Saturday.”
Green added: “The union will be hosting fund raisers in the weeks ahead as it begins preparation but we certainly need patriotic corporate and private sector businesses to rally behind the national team.
“It would definitely be good if the nation could rally behind this proud and patriotic team of gladiators whom have sent shockwaves across the Caribbean and the world with their ruthlessness and never say die attitude. Guyanese need to take pride knowing the `Green Machine’ is for ALL GUYANA and ready to soar to unprecedented heights.”
Regardless of the venue or opponent, the GRFU head is confident of his charges winning the championship once the team receives the requisite funding.
Asked whether the smaller Guyanese outfit can overwhelm the bigger USA players who are the favorites to win,
Green said: “Of course! Once we don’t give them space, execute our moves to perfection and dig deep we will beat them. Old Guyanese proverb `small axe does cut down big tree’ comes to mind.”
On the road to the final, the ‘Green Machine’ dismantled Barbados 48-19 on May 17 and came from behind to dethrone last year’s Southern Zone champions, Trinidad and Tobago 15-8 last Saturday.
One can only hope the ruggers can continue their winning ways or lose on the field, as opposed to forfeiting. (Emmerson Campbell)