WITH close to $4M in cash prizes up for grabs come January 1, 2020, the 2019/2020 edition of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) Super 16 Cup is set to kick off on Sunday at Police Sports Club ground, Eve Leary, with the first double-header.
This format of the sport leaves no room for teams to rebound so they have to hit top form at the first whistle and play faultless football in order to survive and make the next round. It’s virtually four matches or at least 368 minutes to the top prize of $2M and all 16 teams are starting on even keel with the chance to win.
The second-placed team will walk away with $1M while third- and fourth-place attract $500 000 and $250 000, respectively.
Pressure is never easy going into one’s opening match and given the chance to ease the tension first are Elite League side Milerock Football Club, based in the Bauxite Mining Town of Linden and City side, Pele Football Club.
The current rainy weather has been a challenge in terms of preparations for all the teams but this means that the technical staff have to come up with innovative ways to keeping their teams in shape ahead of game day.
Commenting on team preparations, coach of Pele FC, once one of the top exponents in the knockout format, Dennis ‘Chow’ Hunte, stated that they are ready for the challenge that Milerock will present on Sunday from 18:30hrs in the curtain-raiser.
Set to feature a young side, Pele are in the rebuilding process. Hunte confirmed that his team is not as solid as before, having been faced with many challenges in the past three years; but his young charges, who would be led by Lodge Secondary School’s captain Derwin George, will be up to the task.
“When we go out on the field of play, every team will have a chance to win the tournament but it would be down to whoever executes best on the day. We are in the rebuilding phase as a club and we have a very young team who would be giving a very good account of themselves, come Sunday evening.
“We have been forced to do lots of physical work as the weather has been posing a challenge for us with grounds being unplayable. We usually practise at the CARIFESTA Sports Complex ground but we have had to find innovative ways of keeping in shape.”
Technical Director of Milerock, Brian ‘Joe Boy’ Joseph, commenting on his team’s training indicated that it has intensified.
“We are a bit behind where we should have been at this time and that’s because of all the challenges we faced in trying to get the entire group together and to start proper preparations. But we are not complaining, we understand that most of the other teams in the tournament are facing or would have faced the same challenges.”
TD Joseph exuded positivity that they are just about ready for their opening match against Pele on Sunday.
“We intend to finalise a lot of the work that we’ve been doing, just to fine-tune a couple of things. I think the philosophy of how we want to play is established, it’s just a case now for us to reinforce in every session the importance of sticking to plan and playing together as a unit.”
Commenting on the guest players they have approached given the fact that the rules of the competition allows for every team to have three, Joseph informed that they have a number of players from their hometown training with the team and they haven’t as yet finalised which of those players would be added to the team.
“But what I know is that we pretty much know where our weaker areas are and we’ve tried to ensure that we bring in players who can strengthen those areas.”
Sponsors on board to date are MACORP, Pegasus Hotel Guyana, HJ 94.1, THAG, Extra Beer & Extra Energy, Impressions, MP Sports, BACIF, NAMILCO, ECV Investments Ltd.