By Neil Barry
Guyana’s premier intuition of higher education has embarked on an ambitious trail to become a permanent fixture in the local premier league for the first time and to become Caribbean collegiate champions in the upcoming tournament to be staged in Curacao.
Under newly appointed coaches Jevon Rodrigues and Earl O’Neil, as well as with avid assistance from national netball coach and Sport Director at the University Ms. Lavern Fraser-Thomas, the university’s football team is currently engaged in a structured training regimen with the anticipation of progress by virtue of a more standard training programme being enforced. As such, the players can be seen training in the afternoon from Monday to Thursday every week, with selection for weekend games taking place on Fridays.
The composition of the team revolves around experienced students, university staff and a few members of the Cyril Potter College of Education (C.P.C.E.). Its strength rests in the prowess of several former national players including Carlos Monkhouse and Colin Bowry, strikers Nigel Garraway and Kevin Sparman, national hockey players Colonel Heywood and Tain campus middle distance athlete Dane Johnson.
Currently the team is involved in the Banks President’s Beer Super League, and has played five games with mixed results en route to their current passage from ground zero to a competitive Caribbean University as it relates to football. In their first game they won 4-nil against Black Pearl, they then drew 2-2 with Beacons, lost 1-2 to Georgetown Football Club (GFC), lost 1-5 to the more experienced Camptown Football Club, but rebounded with victory against Houston Stars in a penalty shoot out. Amidst defeat, the team concedes weaknesses in fitness as all players are unable to reach peak fitness due to commitments to work and classes. Also an area where there is room for improvement is that of goal-keeping as the coach insists they have conceded “soft goals” and are not as strong as they need to be in that area. The coach also suggested that inexperience is a factor that currently impedes their progress. He stated that the university is “learning and capable of competing at the highest level once players are committed and are willing to work hard.”
The coach also lauded energetic strikers Garraway and Sparman as ‘live wires’ in the team. Garraway has scored in most of the games played so far.
With the support of the university, who through, Vincent Alexander and Daniella King have endorsed the team; the Sport Director and the anticipation of corporate co-operation, the university hopes to achieve its goals of becoming localy, a champion football team and in the immediate future to dominate the collegiate tournament set for Curacao in the Caribbean later this year. .