In an effort to continue their community based programmes, the Petra Organization in collaboration with the Guyana Beverage Company Incorporated officially launched the inaugural Busta Soft Shoe Football tourney yesterday at the latter’s Diamond Headquarters.
Managing Director of Guyana Beverage Company Robert Selman said the upcoming tourney brings back memories of his youthful days, noting it was a very popular version of the sport played in his home country of Trinidad and Tobago.
Selman said the tourney will give individuals who cannot afford to play for a major club, the opportunity to compete in a major tournament.
He declared that the company has invested over four million dollars into the championship to make it a grand spectacle and added that he believes strongly in the Petra Organization because of their professional approach and that he trusts that the event will be run in a professional manner due to the fact that the Busta brand is being represented.
According to the Trinidad and Tobago national, the possibility exists that the event can be expanded and taken to different locales in the nation, adding “I know it will be a hit in the country and the players will come out and represent their villages and the streets where they live in”.
Petra Co-Director and tournament Coordinator Troy Mendonca said the organization is once again pleased to be associated with a grass-root initiative, noting it is a very popular version of the sport in England especially among professionals who would not have the time to play the larger incarnations.
He noted that the event will provide camaraderie among the competing villages and that he envisions a spectacular event which be thoroughly enjoyed by both the players and the spectators.
Mendonca further said that upon paid entry to the venues, each patron will receive a bottle of Busta soft drink, while expressing gratitude to the company for coming on board to make the event a possibility.
The tourney which will be contested in an initial group format, will feature 24 teams being divided into six groups of four. Upon the end of the group stage, the top two finishers from each group alongside the best four third place finishers will advance to the knockout round.
The teams which can field a roster of 10 individuals, will be allowed only five players on the field at any given time. Four of the five individuals will be outfield players, while the fifth player will serve in the position of goalkeeper.
The length of the playing area will be 50×35 feet while size of the goal will be 12×6 feet. All players must wear either turf shoes or sneakers as no football cleats will be allowed.
Participating in the event are North East La Penitence, North Ruimveldt, West Back Road, Sophia, Queen Street Tiger Bay, Holmes Street Tiger Bay, Albouystown, Tucville, Globe Yard, Leopold Street, Cross Street, Kitty, Bent Street, Durban Street, Sparta Boss, Charlestown, Broad Street, California Square, Back Circle, Brazilian Team, Stevedore Housing Scheme, Festival City, Alexander Village and West Front Road-Gold is Money.
Winners of the event will receive $600,000 and the championship trophy while the second placed unit will pocket $300,000 and the runners-up title. The third and fourth positioned teams will walk away with $200,000 and $100,000 respectively.
Upon completing of the group format, each team will be rewarded financially due to their corresponding position. Winner of the group will be awarded $25,000 while the second, third and fourth placed finishers will walk away with $15,000, $10,000 and $5,000 respectively.
The venues for the event include the Georgetown Football Club (GFC) ground, the Tucville Community ground and the Ministry of Education ground.