… fans urged to come out in their numbers
AS the Guinness ‘Greatest of the Streets’ football tournament turns 10 years this year, the title sponsor Banks DIH is optimistic and well prepared ahead of the event in Georgetown – the zone where it all began.
Set to kick off tomorrow evening at the National Cultural Centre tarmac from 19:00hrs, organisers Three-peat Promotions and Banks DIH representatives held a joint press conference at the company’s Sports Club, Thirst Park.
Banks DIH Communications Manager Troy Peters revealed that the company is “very happy to say it has made its mark in Guyana” after enduring for a decade which has seen much development and expansion throughout the country with the tournament now covering six zones inclusive of the Capital City.
Meanwhile, Guinness Brand Manager, Lee Baptiste, who was also present at the presser, noted that it was intentional to leave the Georgetown Zone as the final sub-meet this time around.
As is the norm, 32 teams are participating in the tournament with 16 gaining automatic qualification virtue of their sterling performances at last year’s championship, while the remaining 16 spots were claimed by victorious teams at last Friday’s ‘qualifiers’.
Baptiste also disclosed that all other sub-meets (East Coast Demerara, Bartica, Linden, West Coast Demerara, Berbice) were well attended with a maximum number of teams vying for spots at the National Playoffs.
Meanwhile getting down to the business end of things, Baptiste revealed that winners of the Georgetown Championship will walk away with a trophy and $500 000 while runners-up will pocket $300 000 with the third place collecting $200 000.
Fourth-place finishers will find themselves $100 000 richer while the contestants in the ‘Plate’ section will have an opportunity to win a similar prize.
The venues for this year’s tournament are National Cultural Centre tarmac, Burnham Court tarmac and a first-time venue, National Racquet Centre.
Baptiste urged the public to come out and support their respective teams, noting that security will be tight.
“I urge persons to enjoy the football and enjoy Guinness responsibly; prizes will be up for grabs in the form of caps, jerseys, buckets and umbrellas.”
He also thanked the coordinators and referees while revealing that the tournament has found an equally prominent sponsor in Colours Boutique, who is now on board with the championships for a third consecutive year.
Street ball veteran Rawle Welch, who is a part of the coordinating team Three-peat, pointed out that they are expecting a large crowd when the Championship kicks off tomorrow evening.
“We have a new venue this year, the racquet centre and we are hoping for great football at that venue. However, the venue for the final is yet to be decided.”
Speaking on behalf of the officials, head referee Wayne Griffith asked teams to “be present at least 15 minutes before game time”.
As is normal, a half per game will be 10 minutes each, with each team allowed two fouls with a third foul resulting in a penalty being awarded to the opposing team.
The event will last for seven days with the other playing dates being Saturday (July 13), July 19, 20, 26 and 27. The grand final is scheduled for August 3. The first two nights of the competition, which features 32 teams, will be used for elimination.