The term ‘opportunities’ needs to be clearly defined – Guyana Times
HomeSportsThe term ‘opportunities’ needs to be clearly defined
Jemima Holmes said
First, it must be established that the concerns that follow are not a spike in those international players, who were considered good enough for the recently selected 22-member Golden Jaguars squad to kick off Guyana’s 2022 World Cup campaign. Having said that, the term ‘opportunities’ needs a clear definition from those who make the vital calls for the composition of the Golden Jaguars. Yes, it was refreshing to see that after some time, the technical staff of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) and Coaches had chosen a local majority squad. Goalkeepers Akel Clarke and Shawn Adonis; Defenders Jeremy Garrett and Nicolai Andrews; Midfielders Ryan Hackett, Job Caesar, Pernell Schultz and Daniel Wilson; and forwards Omari Glasgow, Nicholas Mc Arthur, Kelsey Benjamin and Trayon Bobb were the lucky ones, from an extensive local training camp, to make the cut. Although this group could be considered extremely talented, it appeared that, in the face of our Caribbean opposition, this group of players was only good enough to warm the bench. With the exception of Daniel Wilson and Trayon Bobb, who have been staples in this team before, and Goalkeeper Akel Clarke in the first game against Trinidad and Tobago, the replacement would only come if the rest of the local contingent touched. . While the writer is in no position to say why this decision was made or to pronounce on the ability of those homebuyers, this practice is considered hypocritical for one reason, it was repeatedly skewed through. The record would show, on many occasions, Head Coach Mark Maximo emphasizing the need for local players to have opportunities to enhance and develop the local program and give them the opportunity to shine. Why then would those same local players only get a few minutes on the field in each game? What can they achieve or learn in that time? Unless. Unless the term ‘opportunities’ is restricted to a flight to a foreign country only. On March 9, 2021, during a press engagement, Head Coach Maximo addressed the likelihood of local players in the national team, stating: “Understanding the general concepts is very important, because we are still competing strongly. But also, with our young players inside the group, because it doesn’t make sense to have a national program if you don’t use our domestic players, including a general group. That’s why we’re doing, ” “We’re very proud, we’re proud because we have a lot of younger players, players who show good potential to make part of the team, open up a new vision for them, open up new hope in their career. And they hope you do well. “We’re sure that if the players repeat what they do in the training, and the international players repeat the design of wanting to play a national team, I’m sure you can make an outcome good like you do so far. “Also, we have a lot of potential players here, if you don’t give me a chance to program it just outside the tournaments. Okay, I’m making programs here, but it’s not too honest, you should give our youth a chance to play a show of their own. Give that opportunity. ” “Because of the strengthening of the national program we value players because local players are worth getting involved too. Because it all makes sense to have this program five days a week if you’re not using it now. It’s the lie. It’s not a real breakthrough. Real development you should use, use your players without fear, ” Then, on March 15, two days before the team left Guyana, he repeated: “We maintain our balance, because in real development, you should involve local players. You have no real development if you bring in only international players, without using our local players, especially young players because they should feel involved. ” And, “We are not losing the competitive level, but you are also encouraging players in Guyana to play, to produce more players. It’s like a circle, when you have more players coming from here, our chance to compete at a higher level is great, it will be big. ” After all this talk about opportunities being given to local players to boost morale and local development, the starting XI against Trinidad and Tobago read: Sam Cox (C), Trayon Bobb, Keanu Marsh-Browne, Matthew Briggs, Miguel Scarlett, Akel Clarke (G), Emery Welshman, Daniel Wilson, Kadell Daniel and Callum Harriott. Only three locals pull it off the bench to begin with. Understandably so, following a 4-0 loss to T&T, Akel Clarke was benched for the match against The Bahamas and a very familiar starting XI was selected. Sam Cox (C), Kadell Daniel, Trayon Bobb, Callum Harriott, Keanu Marsh-Browne, Matthew Briggs, Daniel Wilson, Miguel Scarlett, Kai McKenzie Lyle, Emery Welshman and Terrence Vancooten; again, only two locals. When the game against T&T came to business, Job Caesar, Pernell Schultz, Kelsey Benjamin and Omari Glasgow got the substitute goal in the second half, ranging from 56 to 76 minutes in. In their second qualifying encounter, Omari Glasgow, Pernell Schultz, Job Caesar and Nicholai Andrews got the goal for substitutes, but only after the 70 minute mark. Mentioning that Omari scored his first international goal, at the age of 17, just 5 minutes after coming on the field, one must question what else these local players could have affected if they had had more time. It’s no secret that Guyana’s second half against Trinidad and Tobago (with a balance of local and international players) is much better than the first. Is it that Trinidad got messy? Or was the presence of our local players more impressive against the two-island opposition. Time on the field was the first concern; the second is for those who never made it off the bench. Jeremy Garrett has played soccer in the United States for the past two years, on scholarship, talking to the quality of his game. Nicholas Mc Arthur and Ryan Hackett have both secured international periods, a scholarship to Mc Arthur in the United States and Hackett a club period in Canada. If this group is good enough to make the mark for international eyes, why weren’t they good enough to replace? Even Kelsey Benjamin who came in as a substitute in the first game rode the bench in the second. What changed Kelsey’s authenticity in a few days? Evil as it may be, thinking persists; would these players be given opportunities to start if recruited from other countries? Again, these questions are not to belittle Guyana’s international group but to figure out why the locally trained players were not given equal opportunities; much like the Head Coach preaching leading up to the games. Does this mean that traveling and rubbing shoulders with the international counterparts is all that is needed to develop the program and the local players? Or is Glasgow’s only goal for the local squad, all the proof in the world that the opportunity has been provided to the local players? Many eyes will be glued to the upcoming team rosters and playing XIs when Guyana challenges St. Kitts and Nevis and Puerto Rico. Will we see another set of opportunistic substitutes? Or will people like Glasgow, who have proven its quality, get a head start on the goal. What can this group of 12 players return to Guyana and share with their fellow players about what they learned to ‘compete’ for the national team? Essentially, the only thing that is asked of decision makers is clarity. To say that our local players are not up to the standard where 5 or more of them can play a full 90 minutes or start and complete half is acceptable. But claiming that the general idea to the public that they would be involved, for the benefit of developing our game locally, and then giving them a halfway chance is false. Point being, the mention of presenting opportunities means nothing if our local players continue to ride the bench for 60 out of every 90 minutes. If these are the opportunities, it certainly is not the one that Guyanese football fans have hoped for. Opportunities. Opportunities. Opportunities.