– Sampson confident as Fruta await new tournament dates
Not without its challenges, the Fruta Conquerors Football Club was pumped up about participating in the now postponed CONCACAF Caribbean Club Shield tournament.
Featuring 14 Caribbean teams, the CONCACAF Caribbean Club Shield, which was slated for play from April 23 to May 7, has been postponed until further notice.
The Fruta Conquerors Football Club, based in Tucville, Georgetown, would have been Guyana’s representative to that competition.
Guyana Times Sport reached out to the Club’s Head Coach Sampson Gilbert, who opined that the CONCACAF organisation was forced to make the decision since many teams were experiencing travel difficulties among other issues.
“During that period of time, CONCACAF observed that a lot of other countries might have been experiencing difficulties. They even had the two teams from Jamaica who pulled out of the Champions League, CONCACAF Champions League, and other countries would have been experiencing those difficulties,” Gilbert explained.
“So, I thought that, based on all that is going on, CONCACAF thought it prudent to cancel the tournament until there are more conducive circumstances existing in the football community, in the world generally.”
While expressing confidence in the Tucville-based unit, Coach Sampson explained that the club had to make adjustments to their training schedule owing to the current severity of the pandemic.
Coach Sampson gave the following assurance, “Undoubtedly Fruta Conquerors are ready. As of now, because we’re still in preparation mode, the fact that there are some alerts with regards to variants of the coronavirus that could affect you adversely, we’re observing all the protocols, and we will not be training as consistently as we would have wanted to, had the tournament being coming up on the 23rd.”
Nonetheless, whenever CONCACAF is ready for the towurnament to be played, Fruta Conquerors would also be ready. And, in Sampson’s eyes, the team would be bringing their ‘A’ game to the competition.
“We are going to look at the whole scenario and look at our training schedule from a more objective perspective based on the tournament’s postponement. But then we need to still keep ourselves prepared, because whenever the tournament is being held, we want to be able to compete.
Clarifying what he was saying, he added, “Not just to participate, but actually project to win this tournament. So, our readiness is obvious. We continue to prepare, but obviously, like I said, we’ve cut down on our training time.”
Being Guyana’s reigning Elite League Champions, this was the second consecutive time that Fruta Conquerors qualified for the tournament.
Drawn in Group C, the Guyanese club would have come up against Hope International FC of St Vincent and the Grenadines and SV Racing Club of Aruba.
Thus far, the team has been supported by donations from the Guyana Lottery Company and the Everest Cricket Club. Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hugh Todd, upon visiting the team during a practice session a few weeks ago, has also pledged Government’s assistance for the team. (Jemima Holmes)