At the culmination of the inaugural GFF Stag Beer sponsored Elite League on November 29 at the Leonora Track and Field Stadium, WBD, Slingerz FC came from behind to win 2-1 in the feature match. As a result they captured the title, in the process confining Alpha United to the runner-up spot. In the opening encounter, Pele edged out city counterparts Fruta Conquerors 1-0 for the 3rd place, with the Tucville-based unit securing 4th position.
Editor, while it’s good for the sport’s image that Slingerz FC have been able to add more silverware to their winners’ collection and in the process continue to disrupt Alpha’s dominance, and by extension that of the capital city, may I inquire how all the players will remain active ahead of the second phase, beyond training with their respective clubs? Wouldn’t it have been more prudent for players in the Elite League to be assigned to various clubs within the respective associations for the end-of-year tournaments? Elite League players could be assigned via a lottery system ‒ senior national, starters, national under-23s, under-20s and reserves. There could be, say, a maximum of five players per club, two of whom must be under-20s and no more than three Elite League players on the field of play at any given time.
This suggestion would have a two-fold benefit. The non-Elite League players would be overwhelmed to be training with the likes of a ‘Jackie Chan’ Richardson and ‘Zorro’ Grant, much less playing with them, and consequently punctuality and semi-professionalism would become paramount. An improved standard of play would translate into enhanced tickets sales and additional revenue. There could be a clause allowing coaches, trainers and managers to be involved along with the ‘loan’ players. In the final analysis, the marketability of football would improve, and the sport would be the ultimate winner. The modalities of transportation, medical coverage and stipends, in addition to accommodation and meals wherever applicable (ie, Berbice and Linden), would have to be considered.
And please do not tell me that the contractual obligations for Elite League players would not allow this. The precedent was already created with the Guinness Greatest in the streets. Since it may be too late for implementation now, at least the issue should not be overlooked come next year.