By Iva Wharton
The second annual Banks DIH/GFA tournament is expected to kick off today at the Georgetown Cricket Club Ground, Bourda and officials said everything will be in place for game time at 6pm.
Up to late yesterday afternoon efforts were being made to rid the ground of water and drain the excess water from the North Road and Shiv Chanderpaul Drive canals.
GFA’s General Secretary, Christopher Matthias, told Stabroek Sport that overnight rains had made their job a little harder, but said they were prepared.
“When we came this morning much of the ground was under water and so we put all the measures in place with assistance from some of our corporate sponsors among them Courtney Benn and the Correia Group of Companies,” Matthias said.
“Everybody really wants to see the grand opening ceremony be successful,” he said adding ….”as you have noticed we have all hand on board.”
According to Matthias they have been informed by GCC officials that today’s proceedings will be allowed to go on as planned once all the water has been drained from the ground.
The ground, he said, can accommodate five thousand persons and that is their target for today’s opening.
“We have given out two thousand complimentary tickets and there are still persons who have been asking. But we have five thousand tickets that will go on sale today from midday.”
Tickets, he said, cost $500 but Matthias reiterated that children under 16 years of age will be admitted free.
Among those expected at the opening Matthias said are Banks DIH Chairman Clifford Reis, Georgetown Mayor Hamilton Green, Director of Sport Neil Kumar and members of Parliament.
Asked about security arrangements, Matthias said both uniformed and plain clothes ranks of the Guyana Police Force will be on hand. Also, a private security company has been hired to provide additional security.
Today’s opening matches will see Sunburst Camptown facing Houston Stars followed by Fruta Conquerors taking on Flamingo.
Flamingo’s Assistant Secretary/Treasurer Maitland Steward said he is optimistic that the team will advance to the quarter final of the competition.
“We know that Fruta Conquerors is one of the stronger teams but we are optimistic that we have a chance to prove ourselves and to be recognized a bit more.”
He, however, said that he said that he was a little disappointed when he learnt that they were paired with Fruta Conquerors, but nevertheless said that Flamingo has improved over the years.
“So come tomorrow (today) we will go out and play to our best”, Steward said.
Secretary of Sunburst Camptown, Akram Sabree said Camptown has a history of performing well at these sort of the competitions and will continue that trend starting today. “The guys have put in the kind of training necessary to win the big prize,” he declared.
Of opponents Houston Stars, Sabree said, “We are not treating any team as a major or minor because everybody is hungry and we all have the same desire. But I have respect for Houston Stars.”
The winners of two matches will advance to the quarterfinals.