By Emmerson Campbell
After staging a successful Guinness Greatest of the Streets football tournament last year, local beverage giant Banks DIH Limited yesterday launched this year’s edition at the Egbert Benjamin Exhibition and Conference Centre in the mining town of Linden.
Thirty-two teams including last year’s winner, Eagles Football Club, will tackle each other for bragging rights, the winner’s trophy and the first prize of $500,000 when the tournament kicks off on April 1.
The first, second and third runners-up teams will receive $250,000 and a trophy, $150,000 and a trophy and $100,000 and a trophy respectively. All 32 teams will also receive hampers for entering the tournament. The leading goal scorer and the MVP of the competition will also receive prizes.
Matches will be played at Wisroc Amelia’s Ward Bus Park, Silver City Hard Court, the Silver City Secondary School Hard Court and the Amelia’s Ward Hard Court.
The final, which will be held on June 5, will be played at the Wisroc Amelia’s Ward Bus Park.
Each game will have two 10-minute halves and if no team is ahead at the end of regulation time, an extra 10 minutes will be played with two five-minute halves. If the teams are still deadlocked, there will be a penalty shootout.
At the launching, Tournament Coordinator Caeron Sealey thanked Banks DIH Limited for its sponsorship, gave an overview of the rules and also spoke briefly about the competition.
“On behalf of all Lindeners I would like to thank Banks DIH, one of the biggest companies in Guyana, for their sponsorship of this tournament.”
He added: “We are privileged to be hosting one of the biggest sporting events in Guyana. This is not only a football tournament, it’s an initiative of giving back to the community, it provides an opportunity for young men to channel their energies in a positive way and to provide entertainment with the aim of creating fellowship and camaraderie among footballers in Linden.”
Sealey also urged the competing clubs to show a high level of discipline.
In his overview of the rules of the tournament Sealey noted that all teams are expected to be at the venues at least 20 minutes before kickoff to facilitate proper registration. Only 10 players can register to be on one team and players cannot change teams during the competition.
He also noted that red carded players must immediately exit the game and the red carded player will be replaced three minutes after. The red carded player will also be eligible to play the next game.
Sealey also pointed out that if a player shows any violent behaviour towards another player, an official or a spectator, that player will be expelled from the tournament.
Sealey also guaranteed a safe and secured venue at all games for the players and the patrons as there will be armed policemen at every venue.
Marketing Executive of Banks DIH Limited Carlton Joao also spoke briefly at the launching of the event. Joao congratulated Linden for hosting a successful tournament last year and challenged the players to make the competition bigger and better. He also alluded to the economic spinoff the tournament brings to the mining town.
Said Joao: “The entire management, organizers, caterers, music systems and security comes from Linden and we are very proud of the economic spinoff this tournament brings to the mining town. I congratulate the Lindeners for a successful tournament last year and this year we expect the usual Linden discipline and even a higher level of play.”
Joao also revealed that because of Guyana’s model, the tournament has now become a regional one and sometime in the middle of the year Guyana will be hosting a Guinness Greatest of the Streets regional competition. The regional competition is scheduled to attract teams such as Trinidad and Tobago, Haiti, Jamaica, St Lucia and St Vincent, among others.
Fixtures of the tournament will be published in a subsequent article.
Also present at the launching was PRO of Banks DIH Limited Troy Peters, Outdoor and Events Manager Mortimer Stewart, Guinness Brand Manager Lee Baptiste and Branch Manager for Linden Shaundell Easton.