Selection Conundrum

The announcement of the Guyana Senior National Football squad, known as the Golden Jaguars, for next month’s international friendly in Grenada on October 8th, has prompted an array of questions including selection criteria, participation of overseas players, the role of the Technical Director, Ian Greenwood, the role of the elite league and the outstanding match fees owed to players for the said league.

The powers that be, the Guyana Football Federation (GFF), has shortlisted a 27 member locally based provisional team for the encounter, with the possibility of overseas based players being selected.

The makeup of the preliminary roster features players from the Elite League, [the commencement date of the event’s third season is yet to be announced] and the lower divisions.

However, the composition of the team has raised several red flags, with many individuals questioning the rationale behind certain selections.

One notable spectator uttered, “How it is possible that a team can be successful but hardly is represented at the national level especially when other teams, who are not as successful are.”

This clearly frustrated statement is attributed to the Guyana Police Force, a team that has qualified for three ‘national knockout finals’ in less than two years, taking championship honours in two of them, with the most recent being the Corona Beer Invitational Championship.

Despite their recent accomplishments, the lawmen continue to be ignored. This is simply absurd, and gives the impression that partisan selections are afoot.

Two names that immediately spring to mind deserving of national team opportunities are forward Quincy Holder and goalkeeper Darius Frank.

To say that politicking does not occur in national selection would be foolish. However, when it is this apparent, there can be no excuses for such actions.

Although question marks hang over the heads of several of the national team aspirants, what have Ryan Dowding [Santos], William Europe [Santos], Richie Richards [Camptown], Kellon Major [Botofago], Jamaine Cumberbatch [Den Amstel], Ryan Hackett [Fruta Conquerors] and Jamal Haynes [Botofago] done to justify selection ahead of the duo of Holder and Frank.

The choice of Haynes is exceptionally interesting due to his status as a Beach Football national player. One must ask if any possible connection to a national junior coach aided to his selection.

The defenders will come out of the woodshed and will put forward the age old argument of, ‘it was done for developmental reasons and experience’.

Quite frankly, dropping the proverbial ball seems to be the favourite ‘pass time’ of the GFF. It begs the question, who are the individuals responsible for the scouting and selection of the players.

How can the GFF Technical Department, headed by Technical Director Ian Greenwood, be so out of sync with the current climate of local football, especially when the future of the Elite League seems uncertain? [Maybe international funding possibly from FIFA and/or CONCACAF] might save the league, which has been a tremendous ‘business’ failure but that is for another article].

How can any national team to the best of our knowledge be shortlisted without any structured selection criteria? It begs the question was there any criteria used for selection in the first place, or were these players simply selected in the dark?

With the possibility of international players being selected for the match, it begets another question, how can the GFF afford the expenses associated with travelling and accommodation for the overseas contingent, and yet, they still not finding a way to pay the Elite League players their match-day stipends.

The selection of a team for national honours must occur in a transparent and systematic manner, and be devoid of any political influence. It should not be the duty of a clandestine group, which may have their own agenda.

Maybe the GFF should institute criteria to select the scouts and coaches responsible for this important process? It is evident by the provisional roster selected for the Grenada encounter that they need to!

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