Football problems need proactive approach

…US based official slams GFF

In the wake of the Golden Jaguars’  success story  this year,  the country’s football problems  continue  to morph with every passing day, and United States-based administrator  Garth Nelson, feels  it’s time to take the bull by the horns  to curb a likely crisis.

The national team’s historic  World Cup Qualifying series  victory over Trinidad and Tobago which  catapulted  the country into the CONCACAF semi-finals for the first time, has done little to rid the nation of the deepening  discord between the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) and its main sub association in Georgetown,  nor  awakened the Upper Demerara sub association from is slumber of gross inactivity.

Garth Nelson and Gregory Richardson

And  no urgency  is seemingly  being applied  to retain the services of Jaguars coach Jamal Shabazz, whose exploits in  masterminding the shock  World Cup elimination of his native Trinidad and Tobago, resulted in a   prompt  recall from a loan agreement.

Add the massive financing needed for the continuation of the Jaguars’ ‘Road to Brazil’ journey and growing disenchantment by some political activists with the  alleged government links of  the  Kashif and Shanghai organization – the engine behind  football’s wide popularity  in Guyana,  and you surely would not envy the position of the GFF’s decision makers.  And not to mention the fallout from  world ruling body’s ( FIFA)’s  suspension of two leading GFF officials.

Nelson, a passionate aficionado of  Guyana’s football,  feels constant negotiations  are the key to  ending the standoff between the national body and the Georgetown Football Association (GFA) that has resulted in morbid  stagnation of  the sport in the country’s largest sub association.

The GFA has been denied  voting  rights by the GFF for  an entire four-year cycle  and  when they were refused participation  at the latter’s annual general meeting, this year, the association promptly filed an injunction in the court which curtailed the election of officials .

A follow-up injunction over the appointment of one GFF official was also instituted.

In the interim,  competition  in  Georgetown   ground to  a standstill, especially in the last two years and when the GFA finally got the action underway  in the city recently,  participating teams  were banned by the GFF  from the prestigious Kashif and Shanghai tournament.

Nelson, the GFF’s international coordinator and president of the Guyana Beach Football Association,  said both parties should make the development of the sport their first priority and leave personal differences behind.

He feels the animosity is growing every day, mainly due to  the two injunctions filed by the GFA.   “ You get the impression the GFA officials are more interested in combat and have this ‘ us or nothing’ approach”. Nelson pointed out. “ But I think the GFA is now fully equipped to be recognized as a functioning  sub association, by the GFF. They have a constitution and  an executive in place and the onus is now on the GFF to persuade them to drop the injunctions  so that  everyone  can get on with the business of football.”

According to Nelson   “some people” within  the GFF  undermined  FIFA suspended  ex president Colin Klass, and   now have a chance to do better but are failing.

“ Why is it they can’t resolve the problems with Georgetown, why is it they can’t get the Linden (Upper Demerara sub association ) officials cracking, why is it we have not seen any big sponsorship coming in,” Nelson lamented.

He posits that all non- functioning  affiliates  like the  Upper Demerara sub association , should be taken into “administration”  and run by the GFF itself.  “ No sub association should have any excuse for not staging at least 10 matches a year”, Nelson argued.

If he was GFF president Nelson said he would capitalize on the Jaguars’ rising  world ranking and organize  international friendlies against countries in and out of Guyana to earn much needed money.

“ Almost every other country does it to build their finances and with the Jaguars placing Guyana on the world map, valuable time is being wasted,” the former Linden resident stated.

He said  being part of the group  which organised  Guyana ‘s first friendly game in the United States  against Guatemala  in Atlanta last year,  was nothing insurmountable.

“ Right now this team (Golden Jaguars) could be very valuable to the GFF, “ Nelson said explaining  that the top players can  be used  to initiate sponsorship deals with companies around the world.” All those trips the  President  (former Head of State  Bharrat Jagdeo) made to  those rich oil  countries, could’ve benefitted the Jags if the right approaches were made to have them play there and broker deals”.
Nelson also laments the laid back approach being taken  to securing Shabazz  back  for the Jaguars from the Trinidad and Tobago federation where he  is a full time employee.   “This man is a gem for the team, he knows how to handle the pros and fitted  them in well with the  local players,  and  by now we should’ve had word on his position”

He also feels plans should’ve been well advanced for the Jaguars’ tough assignment  next year.

“ June is (CONCACAF semis) is   just around the corner and this team (Jaguars) needs at least three international games to  aid  preparation for Mexico, Costa Rica and El Salvador, but we don’t even know who will be the coach, much less to begin  negotiations for these games,”

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