A knockout tournament should not be used to select a football squad

Dear Editor,

A list of a 27-player squad of locally based footballers to pursue training for an international friendly against host Grenada, on October 8, with the possibility of a few overseas based players being included, has been published. I would really like to know what criteria were used to select the locally based players? Who are the members of the selection panel? Is the GFF with its database of overseas based players au-fait with club representation, fitness level, playing time (weekly), division, standard and training? Suffice, it to say that we are in the electronic age, and definitely not in the Stone Age.

Meanwhile, how many matches did members of the selection panel attend, in both the Hamilton Green KO and the Corona Beer/Round Robin KO? Is it not a burning shame for two privately run tournaments to be utilised for selection, more especially since the former’s first round has not been completed? Since when was it justifiable to use a knockout tournament for selection? If a team becomes a first round casualty in a knockout, what assessment of a player can be made?

As a consequence it remains downright tomfoolery for the selection panel to overlook the Police’s Dwain Jacobs, a former national, who netted a hat-trick in the recently concluded Corona Beer Round-Robin/KO finals, en route to the Police’s 4-0 victory over host GFC. The lawmen won two out of 3 finals in two years. Why is it that Police, along with beaten finalist GFC, cannot have a single player each in a squad of 27 locally based players, given the fact that the Upper Demerara Football Association, an affiliate of the GFF, was coordinating an Inter-Association Round-Robin/Knockout Tournament? Would it not have been more prudent to utilise the same for selection, despite the fact that a smaller pool of players would have been vying for selection? Or was the possibility of favouritism which would have existed at the Association level taken into consideration?  But the inclusion of players from Bartica and the East Bank ought not to have been overlooked. Then the surprise selection of Gregory ‘Jackie Chan’ Richardson, who last donned national colours almost two years ago, remains puzzling. Was Richardson active in either of the two privately coordinated tournaments? In the absence of senior league competitions being played domestically in any Association, compounded by the inability of the GFF to indicate when the 3rd edition of the Elite league is set to kick off, there is a clear indication of the continued under-development of the sport.

As it relates to the GFF’s monthly financial assistance for Regional Member Associations, while better late than never is applicable, I do hope that overt politicking isn’t a factor. After all, the monthly financial assistance isn’t something new. If my maths is correct it would be $50,000 x 8 x 12 = $4,800,000 annually. While I was the Assistant Secretary/Treasurer, GFA (2008-10), our Association along with others on a monthly basis had the following expenses paid by the then Klass-led GFF: office rental and secretarial staff; and GPL and GT&T utility bills. Interestingly, all the other requirements that were publicised had to be met on a monthly basis. But this should not preclude the GFF from requesting bimonthly meetings.

However, from an economic standpoint, in this day and age $50,000 monthly in Georgetown cannot suffice to pay a typist privately and rent a venue to convene meetings, much less to have an office running on a daily basis, 5 days a week. Before I forget, the furnishings for our office, which was located at Robb and Oronque Streets, Bourda, were provided by the GFF, inclusive of a computer.

Yours faithfully,

Lester Sealey


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