THE Guyana football fraternity is in mourning following the passing of former football stalwart, George Green, who passed away on Saturday at the age of 84.
Green played for then British Guiana with distinction from 1958 to 1966 without missing a match, captaining the national team during that period.
The multi-talented Green also represented Malteenoes Sports Club at the Case Cup level from 1953 to 1971 and also captained the club. He later went on to represent Demerara at the Inter-county level. Green was also an excellent table tennis player.
George Arlington Green started his outstanding football career in 1957. He played senior football for Victoria Football Club, at right half, now called midfield. He played for his club from 1957 to 1961 and was captain from 1957 to 1961. In those days Victoria was one of the better football clubs in the Country.
While playing for Victoria, he was selected to represent the then British Guiana in 1958 against Suriname. He was also a member of the Continental Football Club which played in the Soft Shoe League.
In 1959, he was selected to tour England with the first West Indies Football Team and at the age of 21 years he was the youngest player of that Elite Team. The team comprised players from Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados and Jamaica. In the selection of the West Indies team, a regional tournament was held in Trinidad & Tobago. After the tournament, a squad of players was selected for two trial matches.
Green was selected in a squad which comprised Trinidadians and, after the match he was approached by the press and asked how he was able to adjust to the style and system of the Trinidadians. He told them that in Guyana he used to play for a Soft Shoe Team name Continental Football Club and they have already adapted the modern system similar to what is played in Trinidad & Tobago.
After the first trial match, Reggie Haynes, the Barbadian Football captain told him that his performance has assured him of a place in the team. Being the modest person he is, George wasn’t impressed; he knew that was not possible because there were many more established players in the trials than him. The press also praised him as he had only started his career two years earlier. The eventual team comprised nine (9) Trinidadians, six (6) Jamaicans, four (4) Guyanese and one (1) Barbadian
In 1961 he left Victoria Football Club and played for Sandbach Parker Football Club where he was employed. He continued playing the same position. In 1962, he was elected as captain of the team which consisted of several National Players. Under his captaincy, the Club won all the senior trophies at stake that year. This club was senior football champions between 1961 & 1966.
He was the neatest footballer ever seen on a football field in Guyana; his shirt was always neatly tucked in his shorts, both of his socks were always the same level and one wonders if he used to fix same constantly during his playing of the game. His hair was well groomed and his posture was always immaculate. He could be termed as a Football Icon which all players should try to emulate.
George was multi talented. He also played cricket. He represented Malteenoes Sports Club at Case Cup Level from 1953 to 1971. He was also captain of the club which included players such as Glendon Gibbs, Rex Collymore and Patrick Legall.
In 1956, he represented Demerara in the Inter County Level. He was an outstanding batsman scoring many First Class centuries and a competent leg-spinner. His outstanding performance enabled him to be called to senior National trials. He was also an excellent Table Tennis player, scoring victories over many of the country’s top players.
Because of a knee injury, he stopped playing football in 1966 and was immediately appointed as the coach of the Senior National team. He was coach from 1966 to 1980. In 1976, the Guyana Football Association sent him to East Germany on a three-month coaching scholarship which was sponsored by the International Olympic Committee.
He was also the first National Football coach to coach a World Cup squad; this was done in 1976 when Guyana participated in a qualifier against Suriname. Guyana won that game two-nil at home. This team was encamped at Kimbia for two months. For the return game in Suriname he was unavailable due to him having to leave for East Germany and the team was coached by an Englishman by the name of Mr Mc Sephney; the rest is now history.
He also coached two (2) Caribbean teams against Hull City Football Club of England and Kwang Tong Province of China. These games were played in Guyana.
In 1992, the Guyana National Trading Corporation, where he worked, was divested and he was immediately employed at the Department of Youth & Sports. Since 1992, until his resignation in 2005 he was the co-ordinator for the Annual national Coca Cola Secondary Schools U-19 football competition which was organised by the National Sports Commission. He was also co-ordinator of the Inter Guiana Games.
George is fortunate to be highlighted in FIFA’s 1000 Anniversary Book after the GFF recommended him for inclusion in this prestigious historical book. A commendation he deserved.