Hinds urges GFF to have level playing field for national selection

President of the North Pakaraimas Sports and Culture Association (NPSCA), Roger Hinds says if hinterland residents are given an opportunity to try out for the national football team it will boost Guyana’s performance.

Hinds recently stated that the hinterland communities possess a number of very skillful and talented players but said that owing to lack of both exposure and investment they are unable to reach their true potential.

The businessman, who has decided to establish a sport and culture association, said he did so mainly for players of Region 8. “Our association, with the blessings of CDC (Community Development Councils) through its National Director Eugene Gilbert organized a major sporting championships dubbed Summer Fiesta which attracted 34 teams last year and we were able to witness first-hand the very high level of talent that these Amerindians possesses.

“The reality is that many of them can hold their own against any of the major teams in Georgetown or across Guyana but because of lack of opportunities they are unable to be shortlisted for our national teams,” he argued.

Roger Hinds

Hinds said it was his desire to change the existing status quo.

“This cannot continue any longer and through the association, coupled with the support and assistance of a number of others, we will change this fortune,” he declared. He said that there needs to be meaningful opportunities created thereby affording talented players irrespective of which part of Guyana that they reside, to gain access onto the national team like other individuals. “We can no longer see only those players from Georgetown, Linden, Berbice or East and West Cost making the national team but it (the process) must also afford players from the hinterland communities that have the right skill, talent and most importantly attitude, equal opportunity to get unto the team.

“If players who possess the right qualities and abilities from these parts of Guyana cannot make the national team then we are saying that sports at the highest level is only restricted to those coming from the coastline and that is certainly not the message that we want to send,” he opined.

Stressing that sports is not cheap, Hinds pointed out that most persons involved in sports in the hinterland and far flung communities are doing so because of their genuine passion and love and not are motivated in any way by money.

“We do not have money to reward performances and teams up here so everything is done because of the undying love and passion for sports and I firmly believe that a more open selection process must be adopted by the selection panel when selecting players for national teams,” he argued.

He noted that some months ago after the selection of the national Under-17 team, a key official of the delegation was in Region 8 and was in awe of the level of skill and ability of several of the plyers and duly questioned why those players were not invited to national trials for possible selection to the national team.

“The official was amazed at the quality and talent that we have right here in this little region but how can the rest of Guyana know if extended and widespread scouting is not done?

“Selectors must be made to travel far and wide with the view of selecting the very best and not just what they have available on the coast,” he said.

According to Hinds, sports development in Region 8 is on the decline thus his decision to join with others in establishing a sport association.

“We live here so we must do whatever it takes to save whoever we can from falling victims to social ills and as a concerned resident and official of this sporting association, I am seeking to appeal to the Guyana Football Federation to see how and in what ways that they can help us as together we can aid in the holistic development and performance of our national teams,” he said.

The popular businessman who admitted that he has been investing his own funds in a number of sporting disciplines with the view of keeping sports  alive in the region said that the Amerindian people are desperately in need of help as many young players dream of one day playing for Guyana.

He said he has several initiatives which, if taken on board, can see a change of fortune for the national team and stressed that his association has already begun discussion with one of the associations affiliated with the GFF with the view of bringing it in line for possible membership with the GFF.

“Bartica is an association, East Bank, East Coast, West Demerara are all associations within the GFF so we will be exploring to have either a Region 8 or an Hinterland Association and to this end we have already been having discussions with our friends in Region 9 who have been experiencing similar challenges and difficulties like us with a view of securing the services of a consultant in moving us forward,” he said.

“Just like the players in the other associations who have a fair or an equal opportunity to make the national team thus making their association and ultimately their country proud, we want to have the same for our players here in the North Pakaraimas Sports and Culture Association (NPSCA) as we are determined to get it done, irrespective of whether it has to be done as a region or collectively as hinterland regions coming together it will be done,” Hinds declared.

Hinds said based on his interaction with the many villagers in Region 8 they all have been organizing themselves with a view of streamlining a more recognized and effective association as they are all aware of the benefits and opportunities of being in an association.

“Running football competitions in Region 8 is very expensive as many of the villagers are some 40 miles away from each other and because of the terrain many of the villagers have to walk to a central location where they will be housed to hold tournaments and this is very costly. Unfortunately many of our country’s businesses are not interested in supporting unless they see a direct benefit to them,” he said.

“No longer it’s about the youths and what development it will bring to our youths but what we as business people will get out of it and unfortunately this isn’t the approach that we should take if we are truly seeking to bring about holistic development,” Hinds ended

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