Banks DIH should invest more in youth football

Dear Editor,

Undoubtedly, beverage giants Banks DIH Limited over the last few decades has remained the single largest and longest sponsor of football in Georgetown dating back from the 1970’s – 80’s with the Demico League (Division 1) being the beneficiary. And the standard of football at that time was higher than what obtains presently! Additionally, the crowds and club support was larger at GFC, while it must also be taken into serious consideration that the level of administration was by far superior and more efficient than what obtains today.

However, when sponsorship of the Demico League had ceased, the late Kenneth De Abreu, who was in charge of the entire Demico House Complex, still committed sponsorship to football! The Demico House Under -16 K.O. Challenge Cup along with the Demico House Pee-Wee (under -12) K.O. were the two youth competitions, coordinated and organized under the auspices of the then Georgetown Football League.

The former competition in the 80’s was a learning experience for me, since my position at the time was a Divisional Representative. Editor, strange as it may sound, Divisional Councils were an extended arm of the Executive, which also had their own Secretary, which I later graduated to. While each Vice President, functioned as a Divisional Chairman. Credit must also be given to Demico House for its sponsorship of the GFL Club Leadership Training Seminar #1&2, that as a participant in 1986, apart from receiving a Certificate, the knowledge I  acquired was tremendous towards shaping my administrative capabilities.

When the Pee-Wee came on board I was elected as the Asst. Secretary/T reasurer, and spent 8 years as the Coordinator for the one-day Knockout Competition. Gregory “Jackie Chan” Richardson, who became the first Guyanese to play in the Major League Soccer (MLS) was a product of the Pee-Wee Competition, and was also voted the Most Valuable Player (MVP), in one instance.  His former coach, Gordon “Ultimate Warrior” Braithwaite can be credited as the most successful coach (of the then YSM Deacon).

The Coca-Cola Inter-School K.O. under the auspices of a previous GFF administration can be construed as a dismal failure, since it was never decentralized properly. And the only difference under the NSC was participation by more schools, but nevertheless it went into oblivion.

The Annual Kashif & Shangai K.O. which was in receipt of sponsorship for 19 years, from Banks DIH, possibly the longest period ever, (re) presented “the changing state of football sponsorship” wherein volume sales of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, presumably outstripped the sponsorship.

This also was applicable to the Annual Mayor’s Cup K.O. to some extent, in addition to the Guinness Greatest in the Streets Round-Robin/K.O.  and the year-end GFA Banks Beer K.O.

The latter two tournaments within its phase of advertising offer the  alcoholic beverages at “rock bottom prices” which cannot be matched by Carib and Mackeson! While this remains a good marketing strategy, from all indications however the sponsorship dollar is definitively not reflective in the development of the sport!

“With the level of any sport, being determined by the level of administration in place”! Hence it comes as no surprise that youth football is affected, since at the nursery level gate receipts would be absent; non-advertising and non-sales of beverages! Nevertheless I am recommending a meaningful approach to the giant sponsor(s) entailing: 30% of the profits being reinvested into youth football, along with a similar amount from gate receipts.

This can go a far way towards development. This in no way should deter approaches being made to other potential sponsors, outlining the mileage that would be offered in both the electronic and print media, in pre and post match write-ups. In addition to allowing a few hundred youths over a period of time to train with their respective clubs, ahead of participating in a competition.

While eliminating the infiltration of negative attributes at the community level! And why is it one footballer is not being used as an advertising agent for an energy drink from Banks DIH? At the end of the day can the Banks Beer K.O.  year-end competition be reflective of development, along with attracting potential scouts from foreign clubs, in pursuit of players securing contracts? Unlike what has occurred with the Annual K & S -K. O.!


Yours faithfully,
Lester Sealey

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