Fernandes cites positive takeaways from Pan Am indoors
Though the Guyanese women had a disappointing run in the recently-concluded Indoor Pan American Hockey Cup, Coach and Guyana Hockey Board (GHB) President Phillip Fernandes is content with some of the takeaways from the tournament.
“This year was particularly challenging for Guyana at the Pan Am Cup. We had a young team and we’re in the process of rebuilding,” the GHB President said.
The female indoor hockey team suffered four major losses over the last weekend, preventing them from advancing to Sunday’s final or third-place play-offs. Noting the loss of a few players before the tournament began, GHB President Fernandes highlighted some of the positive takeaways.
“We tried to see what we could do, in terms of preparing a team with some experience and some youth to contest our skills against the top nations of Pan Am,” Fernandes noted.
He went on to elaborate, “Going into a competition like this, at this level – Pan American competition, with big nations like USA, Canada, Argentina and Uruguay, to go into those kinds of competition without a goalkeeper is almost an impossible task.”
Fernandes shared how they took a chance for the betterment of the team and utilised the services of team manager Princessa Wilkie as the new goalkeeper.
“There was some deliberation whether we should withdraw the team from the competition, but we thought that the benefit to the young players in particular was still great enough, that having spent the funds to come all this way, we should still, in fact, still expose them. So that in two years’ time, in four years’ time, we’ll have a team that has some international experience under their belt, that has what it takes to get to the next level,” he said.
“And, so we took a chance to step forward knowing that the odds were stacked against us.”
In an assessment of the four games, Fernandes highlighted that it was a tough challenge, especially in a situation when they needed to bounce back from early goals.
“I think that the games themselves were challenging; they were tough. Even though in some cases, we held strong and we were matching the opposition, at least somewhat, and it really is difficult when a few easy goals go in early in the game, it changes the mindset of the opposition, it also changes the mindset of our young players where they start to disbelieve themselves, they start to disbelieve the ability of the team,” the GHB President explained.
He continued, “And throughout the match we have to try to rebuild that, to get them back to the level they’re capable of playing.”
Despite the losses, the GHB President has noticed higher morale in the team and even development in certain areas.
“Going into the second day, I thought that the game against Canada and subsequently the game against Uruguay was much better for Team Guyana. You know, the score was beyond us, but I think that it showed some learning, it showed that the girls began to believe in themselves once again and it showed that the young girls were able to change and modify what they’re doing, adapt to the conditions and advance their play.
“And I think that’s the ultimate objective of tours like this, to try to see what development and learning you can get out of it,” the Coach added.
On Friday last, the Guyanese ladies lost 20-2 to USA and 14-0 to Argentina. And then on Saturday, Guyana were defeated 13-0 by Canada, but managed to bring down the margin of defeat to 7-1 against Uruguay. (Jemima Holmes)