Nurse bereaved over Alpha, Slingerz non-participation
CFU Club Championships…
−says players are losing the most
By Akeem Greene
Former Golden Jaguars Captain Christopher Nurse has given his thoughts on CONCACAF prohibiting top local clubs Slingerz FC and Alpha United from participating in this year’s Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Club Championships due to “not being in good standing with the Guyana Football Federation (GFF)”.
Nurse in an exclusive interview with Guyana Times Sport on Thursday, disclosed that “It’s very sad to not be able to see the Guyanese players represent themselves and their country on the regional stage. Players turned down opportunities to go to clubs overseas because they wanted to stay and represent their country and clubs in the tournament and to know that their dreams have been ripped apart is heart breaking. The repercussions affects all the players of the four teams but more so the players of Alpha & Slingerz because the players had been looking forward to this tournament for a long time.
He added, “It was an opportunity for the players to showcase their talents, to earn better contracts overseas; it is a respected tournament in the region and many players have gone onto to better things as a result of performing well. Gregory Richardson is the prime example, the successful performance he had with Joe Public sparked him to be the first Guyanese to sign and play in the MLS [Major League Soccer].”
The clubs’ non-participation in the tournament stems from the fact that, the start of season two of the GFF Stag Elite League was rocked with controversy as current GFF President Wayne Forde expanded the league with the addition of two teams (Top XX and Victoria Kings) which did not go down well with Alpha, Slingerz, Pele FC and the Georgetown Football Club (GFC) and as such they opted not to participate.
Those actions; combined with a stance from the region’s governing body CONCACAF led to the top city clubs not getting a chance to showcase their talents in the marquee tournament for Caribbean club teams.
Upon the conclusion of season one of the Elite League, the two clubs earned the top positions by virtue of the number of points accumulated and also the right to represent Guyana at the prestigious tournament.
The verdict now leaves many players who would transfer to these clubs with the intention of playing on the regional scene, clueless as it pertains to their future. Some players have already been linked with lower clubs as just to be afforded a chance to play the sport while some have vented they no longer have interest in the sport.
Quizzed as to what advice he would have for these players, the decorated footballer said, “It is difficult to advise them but I have to give them the reality of their situation. They need to focus on a full time job and allow football to be a part time serious-hobby at this precise moment in time because the platforms are not in place to allow it to be their full focus. That does not mean give up, they still need to train and work hard, because you never know where opportunities lurk but most importantly do not allow these obstacles to allow them to lose their love for the game.”
There are differing views in the fraternity on whether the clubs had the right to “pull-out” of the league on questionable grounds but the English-born defender feels the owners of the clubs had a right to do so.
“I believe anywhere you invest your money you have a right to feel comfortable, if the owners did not feel comfortable, it is their prerogative to make their decisions. I do not think their achievements of the past should have been effected, but that is my opinion. None of us will ever be privileged to the full details of what took place between the owners and the GFF but we can all feel for the players who suffer as a bi-product of the disagreement,” he posited.
The 32 year-old further vented that “I’m tired of seeing the players hopes and dreams shattered time after time during the course of the past decade; consistently believing in administrators to act in the best interests of the players, appealing to their enthusiasm and ambitions and then being left disappointed.”
The unrest between the clubs and the GFF seems not settled by any means as one section of the media has reported that Slingerz will be pursuing action in the court while some officials of other clubs have stated that they will not be returning to the sport anytime soon.