GTT National Indoor Hockey Championship starts Monday
The annual GTT National Indoor Hockey Championships returns to the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall for the first time in seven years as the Guyana Hockey Board (GHB) stages its first tournament on the newly installed tile floor.
The tournament has been sponsored by the communications giant for 17 years and is the top local indoor competition that determines the annual national champions.
The competition commences early this year as the GHB gears up for the Indoor Pan American Cup to be contested mid-October this year. In order to prepare for the International event, the GHB will use the National Championships as a test event to ensure all systems are in working order.
To maximise the benefit to the local national teams, both male and female national teams will compete in the competition although they will not be eligible for the trophies. The competition features four divisions being Men’s First Division, Men’s Second Division, Ladies and Veterans (Over-35).
Despite being three time-champions, the favourites PEPSI Hikers will now be without their ‘fantastic four’ in Robert France, Andrew Stewart, Jamarj Assanah and Aroydy Branford, who will all be making an appearance for the national BLACKS. The club still boasts a solid line-up with veteran Shane Samuels expected to fill the void along with goalkeeper Jason ‘Puzzle’ Hoyte.
Old Fort, without the likes of the dynamic Aderemi Simon and skilful Jason De Santos, will capitalise on its depth of quality to offer good opposition for the top spot. Bounty GCC and Saints are also poised to topple the defending champs with their strong junior teams who competed well in the most recent competition.
Pizza Hut GCC loses six players who have all been called up for national duty, but remain the solid favourite to win gold. The defending champions, who have not lost the competition in 10 years, will need to bring their top game to hold off the challenges of the new teams in contention.
Old Fort has been creeping up the ranks over the past eight years. Led by Boshani Kaladeen and Tamala Glenn, they will pose a potent attack that will be hard for opponents to handle. The Bingo Spartans are eager to contest their second indoor tournament and is a fast improving side while a new entrant, SIDM, will take the floor in an effort to make the record books as the first debutante to hoist the trophy.
Defending veteran’s champions, GCC Vintage, are strong favourites for the Over-35 division, while the Old Fort Warriors are expected to have the edge in the Men’s second division. Both divisions however, promise to be competitive as no team has retained the trophy for more than two consecutive years.
Matches start on Monday September 25 at 17:00h and the finals will be contested on Saturday September 30. Men’s national selections, the BLACKs and the GREENs, will play an exhibition match against each other right before the final presentation.