Hinterland sports on the rise, indigenous teams cop second and third in Digicel School Football Competition
The development of sports in the hinterland regions was showcased last night, after brilliant performances at the Digicel School Football Finals. The competition ended with Chase Academy finishing first followed by the Annai and Waramadong Secondary Schools.
The teams received tremendous support as hundreds of spectators turned up to lend their support. Among those supporters were Vice President and Minister of Indigenous Peoples Affairs Sydney Allicock, Minister within the Ministry of Communities Dawn Hastings-Williams and Director of Sport Christopher Jones.
First time finalist Annai Secondary faced off against defending champions, Chase Academy. Going into the match, there were no favorites but as time progressed, the game quickly became a one sided affair after Annai Secondary conceded three early goals. The game ended with Chase Academy bagging six with Annai Secondary grabbing a mere two goals.
Despite his team being unable to claim the top prize, Annai Secondary’s Sherral Daniels copped the Most Valuable Player award. His schoolmate Naidison Daniel also received the Golden Boot after scoring a total of 11 goals in the tournament.
For the third position, Waramadong Secondary defeated their arch rivals, Christianburg Wismar Secondary three goals to one. This is the first time the team has defeated Christianburg Wismar Secondary, having competed against them several times.
Captain of Waramadong Secondary Mcferlen George said that even though the team finished in third place, he was happy to finally overcome a team that has defeated them at every turn. “For the past six years, Christianburg has been beating us but we made up our minds to defeat them this year. We had confidence in our team that we would win”, George explained.
Minister Allicock said that he thought the games were very competitive. He noted that while the hinterland teams did not
receive the top title, they continued to improve. He added that, “The exposure they are receiving, is what is needed to take their game to the next level.” “With this, we should build on it, and I am hoping that we would be able to find that support, not only from the government but also from the private sector, and our communities. The youths are really keen, you have seen it here. The quality of football is of a very high standard”, the Minister explained.
The Minister said that this type of tournament was needed on a more organised basis to unite youths, and the Guyanese, “This is what we need, coastal and hinterland people coming together to push our country forward.”
Minister Dawn Hasting-Williams said that she was entertained by the matches and was happy to see the support, school football is receiving. The Minister said that she is grateful for the opportunity youths in the hinterland are given, courtesy of Digicel Guyana. She pointed out that, “More should be done for grass roots football in the hinterland for children 13 years and below as is done on the coast. It is then we can really see football taking another step if we start with the young ones but I was entertained and I am very proud of the hinterland teams that participated this evening.”
She also advocated that similar support and attention be given to female football. “I want to put in a word for the females, because we have females in the hinterland schools that have potential to play good football. I would be very happy if somebody could step up to sponsor female football.”
Director of Sport Christopher Jones said he too was also pleased with the competitive performances by the athletes. To further foster growth in the sports, the Sport Director reiterated that in 2018, there will be the implementation of sports in schools.
Additionally, Jones pointed out that the government will continue to provide the necessary sporting facilities countrywide for the proper development of athletes. “We will continue as much as possible try to ensure that much of the facilities that are needed throughout the length and breadth of Guyana, not only for football but for the various sports discipline so that we allow all of the young people across the country, equal opportunity to sporting facilities,” Jones explained.