Curacao ‘very likely’ to host all CFU Caribbean Cup Group-3 matches …GFF to issue statement
By Rawle Toney
For the second time in the last four years, the Golden Jaguars will ‘probably’ have their ‘home’ game in a major tournament hosted in another country.
This time around, however, it is not for the want of revenue, but rather because there isn’t a venue in Guyana that is readily available and meet the international standards to host the Golden Jaguars’ June 1 game against the (former Barcelona star) Patrick Kluivert-coached Curacao.
With Guyana set to host the West Indies, South Africa and Australia in a Tri-Series in June, it left the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) between a rock and a hard place in finding a venue for the country’s senior-national football team’s home game in Round 2 of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Scotiabank Caribbean Cup.
Guyana was placed alongside Curacao and the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) in Group-3 of the CFU marquee event, which will be played between June 1 – 7.
In the Tri-Series One Day Internationals (ODI), matches are scheduled for June 3, June 5 and June 7. This series would be the first where Guyana would be hosting more than two international teams at the same time since the 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup.
With the preferred National Stadium ruled out, the Leonora Track and Field Facility at Leonora, West Coast Demerara, was the only other option.
However, this meant that the venue that was built and opened in 2015 and which never hosted an International football match, would’ve had to pass inspection by CFU officials.
Its visible, that not much care or emphasis was placed into the football pitch at the Leonora facility. The ground had barely been playable for the GFF’s STAG Elite League.
In the League Genesis, the GFF just managed to play opening matches and the finals at the ground that is also used as a home venue for Slingerz Football Club.
Though being reported the game between Guyana and Curacao will be played on the Dutch Island on June 1, GFF President Wayne Forde, said that the Federation will issue an official release (probably detailing or explaining the reason for moving the game to Curacao).
Stadion Ergilio Hato, named after the Island’s legendary goalkeeper, is a multi-purpose stadium in Willemstad, Curacao, also known as Sentro Deportivo Korsou (SDK) and is the island’s largest stadium, with a capacity of 15,000 spectators.
In 2012, during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, the GFF sold their hosting rights to the Mexican Football Federation to have their home game against Mexico played at the BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas, instead of the Guyana National Stadium.
The move was nothing unique in football, though it sparked a wide-spread attack on the then GFF administration from Guyanese home and abroad since many wanted to see the likes of Javier Hernandez against the Golden Jaguars at Providence.