Mohammed: `This is final, we are moving on. We already have another team in the tournament. We will be meeting to discuss the future of Alpha in our tournaments’

The Kashif & Shanghai Organisation officially ejected former champions of the K&S football tournament, Alpha United, yesterday after an ultimatum by the president of the club, Odinga Lumumba who had demanded an increase in prize monies.

The 2007/2008 winners of the tournament were replaced  by Ann’s Grove United and according to co-director of the K&S Organisation, Kashif Mohammed, the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) was notified of this new development.

Efforts to reach Lumumba for comment last night were futile.
Mohammed said the decision came after Lumumba had stated on numerous occasions, starting with his first appearance on the Supligen Sports Desk on November 22, that his club will not be participating in the tournament if the prize monies are not increased.

Lumumba had contended that the K&S organisers, Mohammed and Aubrey ‘Shanghai’ Major, had been exploiting the talents of the players and the top prize money should be increased to $3 million instead of the current $2 million and the preparation fee to $200,000 instead of $50,000.

Lumumba had supported his position by stating that it costs his club $1.5 million to prepare a team for the tournament and therefore the organisers should make a better offer to the players, especially since their sponsorship dollars have increased from last year.

The K&S organisation, in a press release,  had responded to these claims stating that with the expansion of the tournament, expenses had also mounted.

Ann’s Grove FC

Directors of the Kashif & Shanghai Organisation, Aubrey ‘Shanghai’ Major (left) and Kashif Mohammed addressing the media yesterday. )

Mohammed yesterday stated that the announcement made by Lumumba about his team’s non-participation in the 21st edition of the tournament, which begins on December 12, “has been accepted.” Mohammed also added that “the GFF has been formally notified of this development. Further, the GFF has accepted our nominations of the Ann’s Grove Football Club as the replacement for the Alpha United Football Club.”
On the other hand, Mohammed said that while a committee will be meeting sometime in the future to discuss Alpha ‘The Hammer’ United’s future participation in the popular end-of-year tournament the decision to leave the number one team in the country out of this year’s tournament is a definitive one.

“This is final, we are moving on. We already have another team in the tournament. We will be meeting to discuss the future of Alpha in our tournaments,” Mohammed said.
Further, Mohammed said that everyone has a right to offer opinions but when it comes over as disrespectful to the K&S Organisation then action will be taken. “We are not upping our price structure so we accept the fact that you are not participating,” Mohammed said in reference to Lumumba’s demands.

“It is not that we say you will not play, that was not our stance. We were there all the time and you (Lumumba) said it  (that Alpha will not play) and you repeated it and we clearly realised that you did not want to play based on our price structure so we just accepted what it is you said you will do,” Mohammed continued.

Regarding prize monies Mohammed said that the top team will receive the stipulated $2 million but  a two-year sponsorship deal with Plus 1 Sports Company of the US worth $5 million will be an added incentive. Mohammed said that “in actuality the winning team will be receiving $7 million in cash and kind, while second, third and fourth place finishers will receive $3 million ($2 million in kind), $700,000 ($200,000 in kind) and $300,000 ($50,000 in kind) respectively.

“The GFF have accepted us from years ago that our first prize should be cash and kind. The kit sponsorship that we are talking about is not no jersey, shirt and socks. It is a complete kit and the company is catering for 30 persons on the team,” Mohammed explained.

Meanwhile, this year apart from the 100% increase in cash, the first place finishers will receive the Gordon Trotz and Dale Bascom Lien Trophy, the Ansa McAl Take Home Trophy, 26 replicas and a two-year kit sponsorship valued at US$25,000, equivalent to $5,000,000, which is sponsored by the Plus One Company.

The total value of the runner-up prize amounts to $3,000,000 and consists of $1,000,000, the GT&T Trophy, 26 silver medals and a one-year kit sponsorship from the Plus One company valued at US$10,000.

The total value of the rewards for third place is $700,000 and comprises  a $500,000 cash prize, 26 bronze medals and one set of uniforms sponsored by Dr. Colin Watson.
Fourth place finishers will cart off $250,000 and ten footballs, a prize valued at $300,000 while the Most Valuable Player (MVP) will receive a Plus One Sporting Kit and a motorcycle donated by Beck’s Trading.

The K&S Organization will be giving each team that reaches the quarterfinal $50,000.
On the other hand, with the exclusion of Alpha United, Ann’s Grove  FC will have to face Fruta Conquerors in a qualifying match to decide who qualifies for the first knockout round. This match is scheduled for  December 17 at the Enmore Community Centre Ground; the winner of this match will face Milerock United.

Riddim Squad and Bakewell Buxton Stars will go head to head in the other qualifying match to see who makes the final 16 teams. Their match is scheduled for December 15 at the Georgetown Football Club Ground and  the winner will oppose Victoria Kings.

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