Selection bureaucracy

`Elevation to national honours must act as a source of pride for individuals and should only be afforded to persons who are deserving and not through political or other influences’

Sporting merit or selection bureaucracy?  That is a conundrum which is often associated with national teams in Guyana especially in the beautiful game of football.

With Guyana set to tackle Martinique on Tuesday at the Mackenzie Sports Club (MSC) ground, Linden, the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) released a 30-member provisional squad, 13 of which are foreign-based players and the 17 remaining individuals split between the Stag Beer Elite League and lower divisions.

However, the composition of the preliminary squad must be called into question and gives the impression that the individuals or body responsible for the selections are partisan and political.

How else can one explain the selection of Georgetown Football Club’s Curtez Kellman and Ralph Parris, Fruta Conquerors’ Shamar Smith and Ryan Hackett, Milerock’s Jonathan Copeland and Job Caesar of Santos?

Some will argue that those selections were made for ‘developmental reasons’. However, this is a term often peddled to mask intentions.

How can anyone justify the selection of several U19 players for national training when there are many seasoned (in terms of experience) players performing at the Elite League and lower divisions that are worthy of such elevation, players such as Trevon Lythcott of Fruta Conquerors and the Guyana Defence Force’s Delwyn Fraser within the top tier.

Among the lower ranked teams, Western Tigers immediately spring to mind with their talented core of players such as Hubert Pedro, Randolph Wagner, Dwayne McLennon, Andrew Murray Jr, Colin Nelson, Linden Picketts and Jumane Somerset.

Maybe some of these previous national players are not?good enough for selection based on their current club affiliation.

What about the ever improving Guyana Police Force? Are we saying there are no players from this august institution that warrants at least a mention in the national selection debate? What about players from the Elite League club Buxton United?

It is interesting that nine of the 17 local players in the provisional squad do not ply their trade in the Stag Beer Elite League.

Although many might contend that Kester Jacobs, Delon Lanferman, Trayon Bobb and Clive Nobrega were stalwarts of the Elite League prior to their respective club’s withdrawal from the second season, what have they done recently to justify their selections?

The recent Limacol football championships did very little to put forward a case for the aforesaid bunch who hardly stood out among the lower-ranked players

While the elevation of Milerock’s U17 goalkeeper Copeland is an intriguing selection, it baffles the mind that Jeremy Garrett and Reshawn Ritch of Fruta Conquerors were not called up to the senior ranks, even though they were selected in the Best XI of the recent U17 championships in Martinique, an event which Copeland also participated.

While Copeland’s talent is obvious, his selection might have been influenced by his close connection to one of the coaches. Is the GFF saying that there is no other goalkeeper in the ‘Elite League’ or lower leagues that is good enough?

Secondly, it is almost guaranteed?that 80% of the 13 foreigners will be a part of the final roster for the fixture once they arrive on local shores.

Notwithstanding, one must question how is the GFF able to afford the travelling expenses and accommodation of the foreign-based players but yet still can’t pay the match day stipend for the players and the referees fees?

What is the purpose then of the ‘Stag Beer Elite League’ if  this country is to depend so severely on foreign based players especially in an international friendly and when there are not any competitive assignments for the foreseeable future? Has the aforesaid tournament even achieved its expected mandate for the national programme?

The defenders of the federation will argue that the influx of the foreign based players is to guarantee that Guyana has the best possible team against the visitors.

However, that is laughable since the contest is not even being staged at the best possible venue, relegating the contest to the dust bowl of the Mackenzie Sports Club in Linden.

I guess the brilliant minds at the GFF prefers the ‘best possible squad’ at the worst possible venue. Let’s hope a player?from the Mining Town makes the final roster.

This is the area that the GFF continues to drop the ball. How can any national team to the best of one’s knowledge be shortlisted without structured selection criteria?

This task of selecting a team to represent the nation must be done systematically and should not be a fixture of a small and clandestine bunch.

Elevation to national honours should act as a source of pride for the respective individuals and should only be afforded to persons who are deserving through performance and not through political or other influences.



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