The withdrawal of Alpha United Football Club has put the fifth staging of the NAMILCO Football Festival in limbo.
President of the Fruta Conquerors Football Club, Marlan Cole, made available to the media yesterday copies of a letter sent to the Georgetown Football Association (GFA) by Guyana’s leading club Alpha United informing the GFA of their withdrawal from the tournament which is in an advanced stage with the Alpha side already securing a place in the semi-finals.
Cole said that Alpha’s withdrawal was based on advice and directive from the Guyana Football Federation (GFF).
He added that the organizers of the NAMILCO tournament, were now forced to re-enter Riddim Squad back into the competition since Alpha United has pulled out.
Cole’s letter to the GFA stated: “With reference to the above caption, kindly be informed that the Alpha United Football Club has withdrawn from further participation in the 2012 NAMILCO Football Festival, based on the advice and directives from the Guyana Football Federation GFF.
“As organizers and in the interest of our fans, sponsors and the tournament itself, we are forced to re-enter – Team Riddim Squad – into the tournament (competitively) since Riddim Squad would have been the most recent team that Alpha United competed against in the competition,” said Cole.
He said that every effort will be made to ensure and guarantee the completion of a very successful tournament.
“To date we at Fruta Conquerors Football Club are grateful for the invaluable support given to the tournament by the GFA. Fruta Conquerors Football Club wishes to assure our sponsors, fans, players, GFA General Council Members and the GFA Executives that every effort will be made to ensure the completion of this year’s tournament to the satisfaction of all and sundry, Cole stated.
He disclosed that in addition to facing many challenges, developmental works on the Tucville ground will continue uninhibited and better playing conditions and facilities will be available for next year’s tournament with this year’s success.
He is urging support and solidarity from the general public, the football fraternity, sponsors and well-wishers.
Lumumba in his letter to Cole, had threatened to withdraw Alpha United from activities organized by the GFA after he had proposed a motion that would have initiated a resolution to the current impasse between the GFF and the GFA.
Lumumba’s letter to Cole stated that Alpha United had returned to the fold of the GFF and as a result the club can only participate in football sanctioned by the GFF.
Lumumba was a part sponsor of the recently held Banks Beer knockout tournament held in December after Alpha United was booted out of the Kashif and Shanghai tournament on the advice of the GFF.
Sources disclosed that the move by Lumumba to withdraw the team could be a direct plan to get Alpha United to compete in the GFF Super League which would make the team eligible to compete in the CONCACAF Club championship.
Alpha had beaten Banks DIH All Stars 6-1 in an exhibition game and scraped home 1-0 over Riddim Squad in the quarter-final on Wednesday evening at the Tucville ground.
Beacons Football Club booked the other semi-final place by beating Sunburst Camptown 3-2 in a penalty shootout on Wednesday night.
The other two semi-finals were to be played last evening with Conquerors competing against Georgetown Football Club and Santos playing against the Guyana Defence Force.
Prime Minister Samuel Hinds attended the opening of the tournament two Sundays ago and offered support to the tournament and the community of Tucville.