By Emmerson Campbell
A celebratory dinner was hosted on Thursday night by Stanley Ming and his wife for the Guyana men’s rugby team for earning their sixth consecutive North America Caribbean Rugby Association (NACRA) Sevens title at the residence of the president of the Guyana Rugby Football Union (GRFU), Kit Nascimento.
Executive members of the GRFU, players, fans and friends convened at Nascimento’s residence to toast to the latest success of the ‘Kings’ of regional rugby.
The team demolished Cayman Islands 29 – nil in the final of the NACRA tournament which was held in Barbados last month. The team was unbeaten throughout the championships and was so dominant that they scored 204 points while only conceding 14 points in their six games.
As a result of winning the tournament the local ruggers are eligible to represent the region in the Hong Kong tournament.
The Hong Kong tournament which will feature the best 24 rugby teams in the World is the most prestigious of the World Sevens Series events and will take place in March next year.
During his speech the rugby president congratulated the team on its recent success but also stressed the need to take Guyana’s rugby to the next level.
“We are here to celebrate a remarkable experience, there is nothing comparable to the achievement of winning six consecutive years of a Caribbean sporting event which our national Sevens men team has achieved but we are not satisfied we want to take our success to the world level.”
Nascimento highlighted that the men’s team should participate in at least two world class tournaments before they participate in the Hong Kong Championships but intervention by the government will be needed.
“We should participate in at least two high level tournaments to bring us up to a competitive level and there are only two tournaments that I am aware of for us to participate in, one is in Punte de Este, Uruguay in January and one in Canada but we are talking about expenditure of $US60,000 or more if we are going to participate in those tournaments but we simply do not have these resources.”
The GRFU president stressed that in order for the team to further develop, they need to compete regularly at international tournaments but the only way that can happen is by support and sponsorship. Nascimento said he will soon be approaching corporate sponsors, and he noted that he had a preliminary meeting with the Minister of Sport but he is awaiting an appointment.
The GRFU boss thanked the IRB, the Government of Guyana and Beharry Group of Companies and also other sponsors for making their participation at the Pan Am Games in Guadalajara, Mexico last month and the NACRA championships in Barbados possible.
In a brief speech Ming said that he is happy to be associated with the sport of rugby and assured the players that he will continue to support the sport.
“I have been associated with rugby for almost 20 years, what I want to say tonight is that I am extremely happy to be associated with rugby. I saw the sport grow from almost not being in Guyana to one that is making Guyana proud and that is in no small measure, it is due to dedication and hard work by the players and the administration.”
Ming also encouraged the ruggers to bring home their seventh consecutive title and to continue striving to be a world class squad.
“For next year I encourage you to bring home the seventh one and to aspire to be world class players. I want to say that on behalf of Mings Products and Services we stand to continue our support of rugby.”