Hockey, a sport which has a relatively trifling of followers in Guyana when compared to other sports, has seen the consistent rise of Aroydy Branford who can best be described as a goal-scoring machine.
The 21-year-old Branford had a prolific run in 2017 going past the upright on 43 occasions, underlining his goal scoring and conversion ability.
A breakdown of his efforts saw him dominating the 2017 edition of the Diamond Mineral Water Hockey Festival with 25 goals – the most in the tournament – while scoring seven in the CAC qualifiers in Jamaica and converting 11 goals from five games in a local Guyana Telephone and Telegraph tournament which preceded the CAC games.
It was on those performances and his noticeable focus that Stabroek Sport reached out to the young man.
Branford, who spent his early days growing up in Alberttown, Georgetown, got his schooling at St. John’s College where he fell in love with the sport at the behest of a friend to pick up a hockey stick.
The rest, as they said, is history for Branford who revealed that football was his first love but it was hockey which gave him the opportunity to represent the Golden Arrowhead.
“It feels great representing this country and having people recognise my talent,” the young man, who has represented Guyana on six different occasions at both the junior and senior level, told Stabroek Sport.
His sole motivating factor amid the relatively measured publicity the sport receives, he revealed, is his love for the sport.
“Basically, I do it for the love of the sport. The love of the sport is what keeps me going,” he emphasised while noting that he intends to ‘go pro’ to realise his ultimate ‘goal’ of not only playing but matching that success in Europe.
To date, he has made considerable strides in achieving his goals having represented the Stratford Hockey Club in England while also completing stints at the Queen’s Park CC in Trinidad and Tobago.
In comparing those experiences against what he is used to locally when representing the Pepsi Hikers Hockey club, the young man revealed that it is “tough since much support is not given.”
He, however, recognised the contributions of Robert France and Devon Monroe, two individuals who have made life easier for him coaching and otherwise.
His next big assignment would see him suiting up for Guyana in July/ August for the 2018 Central America and Caribbean Games in Barranquilla, Columbia, where he is certainly looking to continue his aggressive nature of play.