“There’s no days you can miss football. There’s football in the Sports Hall and there’s football on the field,” Frank “English” Parris reasoned on Saturday last, and he is quite right.
Commencing on Saturday, December 11, there will be no shortage of football to appease the hunger of avid Guyanese fans, as the Guyana Football Federation (GFF), in collaborating with the Kashif and Shanghai Organisation (K&S) and the Guyana National Women’s Football Association (GNWFA), will host three tournaments over the next few weeks.
Buying into the appeasing ‘year-end football’ tradition, there will be two Super 16 competitions (male and female) and a futsal competition, consisting of 32 of the best street balling teams.
During a media reception hosted by the GFF on Saturday night at the Pegasus Hotel, a number of the tournaments stakeholders were able to dispense pertinent information on the upcoming festivities.
The Women’s Super 16 tournament is scheduled to commence this Saturday, December 11, in St Cuthbert’s Mission, a move that GNWFA President Andrea Johnson hailed as ground-breaking for the community.
As such, Johnson stressed on the heightened participation from hinterland players that would be witnessed throughout the event.
“This inaugural tournament promises to be thrilling with a heavy impact participation of the hinterland regions, who will be showcasing their talent, since we have seen more players from the hinterland communities being part of the national teams,” Johnson shared.
Aside from this, Johnson also disclosed the tournament’s slogan, which takes a stance against domestic violence.
She explained, “Now, under the tagline “We rise against domestic violence”, we will be using the opportunity throughout this tournament and beyond, to get the message out there that we stand against domestic violence. We want our voices to be heard.”
The women’s tournament will run from December 11 to January 2, with over $1 million in cash and prizes up for grabs.
On the futsal spectrum, Frank “English” Parris has been able to rope in the likes of Sparta, Gold is Money and Bent Street, some of the best in the business, setting up a riveting 32-team futsal tournament.
“We’ve been working quite a lot, diligently behind the scenes to get this programme going. It’s not an easy programme because it’s not clubs, but I’m working hard and we’re almost there at the touch line of getting this programme completed,” Parris said about the efforts that have been made since the inception of this year’s tournament.
When it comes to prizes, the top team will walk away with $1 million while secownd place will receive $500,000. The third- and fourth-place finishers are slated to receive a cash prize of $300,000 and $200,000 respectively, with a motorcycle prize for the MVP still unconfirmed. The tournament is scheduled to commence on December 14 and end on January 8.
Meanwhile, what is being considered as the main attraction of the year-end festivities is the male Super 16 tournament, being hosted in collaboration with K&S.
“This tournament has done great for football in Guyana, it did good for players,” Kashif Muhammad, who has been in the business of year-end football for over three decades, stated at the event.
While the tournament is expected to grace venues in Georgetown, Linden, Bartica and the East Bank, East Coast and West Coast of Demerara, there is still a decision to be made on whether or not the final will be played at the Leonora Track and Field facility or the Mackenzie Sports Club Ground in Linden. According to Muhammad, it will be dependent on whether or not a Linden-based team makes it to the final.
“Over the years, the tournament got better and there was always the dream of doing better things once more finances come, because we had to manage the finances well, so we could make the tournament into something spectacular,” the National Sports Commission Chairman shared.
The first prize is set at $2 million, while second place will settle for $1 million. The second- and third-place finishers will grab $500,000 and $250,000 respectively, while each team will receive a $200,000 participation fee.
The Male Super 16 event will run from December 12 to January 1.
Among the tournaments’ sponsors are BACIF, NAMILCO, MVP Sports, Fitness Express, Grand Coastal Hotel, Pegasus Hotel, Secure Innovations and Concepts, Jai Signs and Mohammed’s Enterprise. (Jemima Holmes)