By Iva Wharton
Guyana’s past football stars will attempt to roll back the years this Saturday when the Mackeson Masters competition gets underway at the Georgetown Football Club (GFC) ground.
According to chairman of the Masters Football Association (MFA) Eswick Northe, the association aims to revive the staging of such tournaments in an effort to getting the Maters players involved in more such tournaments at home and abroad.
Northe also said that the association will focus on lending more assistance to those players of yesteryear who would have made significant contributions to the sport.
Northe said discipline will be a main part of the upcoming competition.
“No cursing on the field, no arguing on the field, the referee is in charge so we adhere to his rules and what he has to say,” he told Stabroek Sport.
The tournament has received the blessings of the Georgetown Football Association and the Guyana Football Federation through respective presidents Vernon Burnett and Frankie Wilson.
Wilson said the Masters association has to broaden its focus, which should include acting as role models and support units to younger players.
“They must see you as role models; they must see you as examples on and off the field which is vital,” he declared.
He added:”Because, if you look around football today, you would see the kind of indiscipline that pervades across the board. And I think that the Masters have a serious role to play in that regard in terms of shaping these youngsters on and off the field of play.”Ansa Mc Al, Brand Manager, Jamaal Douglas, said his company was proud to be part of the tournament and was looking forward to future partnerships with the association in the development of football. Charles Greaves, treasurer of the MFA, said that the tournament will cost the association $2.3 million.
“We are thankful to Ansa Mcal for being the main sponsor of this tournament and we are asking many more who we sent letters to, to assist us in order for it to be a successful tournament.”
The tournament will be contested by 12 teams namely: GFC, Rastafari, Houston Stars, Pele, Thomas United, Conquerors, Top Klass, Brasimex, Beacon, Santos, Team USA and East Coast.
The 12 teams will be placed in four groups of three, with the top two teams in each group advancing to the knockout round. The remaining four teams will play for a loser’s plate. The winning team will cart off $500,000, a medal and a trophy. Prizes will also be awarded to the Most Valuable Player, the Best Goalkeeper and the Most Disciplined Team.
All matches will be played at the GFC ground, Bourda with each match scheduled for one hour with a seven- minute break.
The tournament will be preceded by an opening ceremony which will be used to honour some past players.
Among the players expected to compete are Ken Gibbs, Richard Ying, Patrick `Labba’ Barton, Vibert `Durdy’ Butts, Herbert Pellew, Deon Barnwell, Wayne Dover, Ivan Persaud, Gordon `Ultimate Warrior’ Braithwaite, Peter Lashley, Trevor `Lanny’ Maxwell and Otis James.
The tournament caters for players over 40 years old but clubs can register players between the ages of 37 to 40 years old. However, only three of those players can be on the field at the same time.
Clubs are asked to have their players present their identification cards to verify their age.