GCB launches second annual NSSCL with 150 schools
By Avenash Ramzan
The Guyana Cricket Board on Wednesday afternoon unveiled the second annual National Secondary School Cricket League (NSSCL) cricket competition, geared at working as a feeder to the national system.
Sport Minister Nicolette Henry and representatives of some schools were on hand to hear of plans for the 2016 edition of the tournament. Geared to touch all corners of Guyana, the competition has attracted 150 schools, set to compete in a knockout format.
Apart from identifying a nationwide schools champion, it is also intended, more importantly, to unearth new talents that could potentially serve the national system.
Addressing a packed boardroom of the Guyana Cricket Board on Wednesday afternoon was president Drubahadur, who made it clear that while sponsorship and funding have been hard to come by, the board will continue to carry out its mandate to promote the development of cricket.
“This year the Guyana Board is taking this competition, up to this point, by itself. Last year we should have had the government and another major sponsor, but for some reason- the economic situation or otherwise- they have not come,” Drubahadur related.
He continued, “However, the executives of the Guyana Board, once we take up a project, we see it to the end and when we launched last year, we said this will be bigger and bigger as time progresses. So with or without corporate Guyana or the government we’re here to launch again.”
As it did in 2015, the government of Guyana will once again be providing balls for the tournament. Sport Minister Henry was on hand to speak of the administration’s support for the nationwide competition.
“The Department of Culture, Youth and Sport within the Ministry of Education fully supports this competition and will provide whatever assistance is necessary, and that can be afforded to ensure its success. I wish therefore, to take this opportunity once again to commend the organisers for their foresight and the several sponsors and stakeholders for their generosity and commitment in making this second national inter-school competition an anticipated event on the national sports calendar,” Henry told the gathering.
According to Secretary of the Guyana Cricket Board, Anand Sanasie, 30 complete kits will be available during the competition, making it easier for schools that may have difficulty sourcing gear.
The West Indies Cricket Board Director also pointed out that coaches and officials of the board will be at the games, helping with talent spotting. Information gathered from this process will then be fed to the national selectors.
“Our cricket currently, and for some time in the past, has been so structured that all our cricket talent is home grown. Cricket is one of the major sports in Guyana where we don’t wait when we have to select a national team and then somebody found out that their grandmother was a Guyanese and they’re selected. [In cricket] We produce the coaches, the managers, the players everything from the bottom up, because our structure is solid,” Sanasie declared.
He added, “So we produce everything coming right up to the top. This [NSSCL] is the layer that comes after the [Scotiabank] Kiddy Programme. There is one layer which we have missing, [and] which we are not satisfied with, and that is the primary level.”
Administrator of the National Sports Commission, Gervy Harry, congratulated the Board for continuing to place emphasis on school cricket, as sports can be easily seen as complementary to academics.
Harry also shared his experience as a school cricketer, giving guidance by encouraging students to make full use of the opportunity provided to them. He also highlighted the fact that many persons are able to enjoy lucrative careers from the sport.
Territorial Development Officer of the Guyana Cricket Board, Colin Stuart, said, “The NSSCL is perceived as very significant, in that it forms a valuable instrument from which the GCB can begin to assess players’ talent and to implement strategies geared at their development. These strategies may include directing players to clubs close to their homes or schools, and to involve them in progressive empowerment programmes.”
To be eligible to represent their respective schools, students must have a 65% attendance rate during the previous school year.
Like the previous year, the tournament will utilise the Guyana Teachers Union’s Zone and District format, towards realising an overall winner.
The zones are Upper Corentyne, Lower Corentyne, New Amsterdam/Canje, West Berbice, Lower East Coast Demerara, Upper East Coast Demerara, North Georgetown, South Georgetown, East Georgetown, East Bank Demerara, High Way, Upper Demerara, West Bank Demerara, West Coast Demerara, East Bank Essequibo, Wakenaam, Leguan and Essequibo Coast.
The Guyana Cricket Board is partnering with the Ministry of Education, its Sports Department and Allied Arts Unit, the National Sports Commission, the Guyana Teachers’ Union and the Child Care and Protection Agency to host the competition.
Chase Academic Foundation won the competition last year.
Cover photo caption: Veteran umpire Huevel Cunha monitors the action during a game at the GCC ground, Bourda, on Wednesday