Lumumba calls on officials for clean game versus Tigers

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… says some K&S matches were controversial
PRESIDENT of the Alpha United Football Club, Odinga Lumumba, yesterday issued a call for the officials that will be in charge of the final of the 20th Annual Kashif and Shanghai Football tournament to be impartial.

Alpha United will face BK International Western Tigers in the final of the competition tomorrow night at the Guyana National Stadium, Providence, while last year’s champions Pele will do battle with Sunburst Camptown in the third place playoff.

According to Lumumba, the quarter-final matches between Pele and GDF and Topp XX and Western Tigers were both controversial.

He said there were some poor refereeing decisions during the two matches and he hopes that the same thing does not occur when his side takes on Western Tigers tomorrow night.

He was high in praise for Western Tigers whom he has always respected as a good team, but he was hoping to meet Pele in this year’s final “because we have a thrashing for them”.

The vocal Presidential Adviser on Empowerment wants tomorrow’s final to be clean. “No one must win because of a controversial foul or anything like that, they must win fair, and the game must be a fair one, regardless of who wins.”

Lumumba denounced the organisers of the tournament stating they (organisers) had a bias for Pele, since they switched Alpha United’s quarter-final fixture on two occasions.

He explained that the original fixture had Alpha United and Fruta Conquerors to clash at the national stadium, but two days prior to the match, Alpha United were informed that their match was switched to the Mackenzie Sports Club ground and after he protested the decision, the match was switched to the GFC ground.

“That, I believe, was conspiracy; it was a bias in favour of Pele.

“I want to call on all concerned to minimise controversies. I said before the tournament is a good one, but I have a problem with certain individuals who went on the sound system and announced that the winning team between Western Tigers and Topp XX would get $3M or what have you.

“I think the organisers should be fined for allowing that … and one of the persons who were making the announcement is a senior Guyana Football Federation (GFF) executive,” Lumumba continued, adding “Do not wait until a match is being played and announce these kinds of things. If you like a club, then buy them gear and equipment with the money you want to shower them with.

“The GFF has to come down on this, because when mention is made of lucrative cash gifts, the referee might be influenced, for all you know he might also get cash offer to be biased in a team’s favour.

“But I must add that I have faith in the local referees, I’m not saying that they will take monetary gifts, but we have to be careful of the influence it might have on a person’s mind.”

Lumumba said he spoke with the GFF on the matter and has been assured that his concerns will be raised with the tournament organisers.

“Help the club in whatever way, but don’t wait until a game is in progress and make these announcements,” Lumumba declared, adding “that’s my big concern; you don’t know what will happen on Friday (tomorrow) during the final.”

According to the promoter, there would always be a conflict of interest with persons serving on the GFF executive and at the same time being involved in organising a private tournament.