Fruta Conquerors’ confident despite shortage of funds
By Akeem Greene
Officials of the Fruta Conquerors Football Club are confident as they prepare to head to the Concacaf Caribbean Club Shield tournament, scheduled to take place from April 5-15, in Curacao.
The optimism is present even with a shortage in the necessary funding for the humongous undertaking.
The Tucville-based outfit earned the right to represent the nation at the tournament after winning the Guyana Football Federation’s Elite League Championship for the 2018/19 season.
While on-field tactics seem to be falling in place with Head Coach Sampson Gilbert working players overtime, President Colin Gittens indicated they are still adrift with regards to finances, but assured they will attend the tournament.
“In terms of finances, we are not there quite; we are lacking a bit financially. It is not to say we won’t be going, but we will need additional funding to make our players better (and) comfortable in their stay. I won’t give you a verbatim figure, but the airfare is $3 million and so far we have raised majority of that money…one of the things we have been outstanding with is monies for the uniforms and their allowances which will be like $1.5 million,” Gittens revealed to News Room Sport on Wednesday.
However, long-standing club secretary Daniel Thomas is not letting those grey areas swamp the camp. In fact, he said the intention is to win the tournament.
“We hope to win the championship because we think it will bring more prestige to the club and even to Guyana. We got to remember this tier two is for non-professional clubs, meaning that our players are not contracted paid players so we are hoping to use it as a stepping stone for our club to be known in the Caribbean,” Thomas contended.
Gregory Richardson, Anthony Benfield, Solomon Austin, Eon Alleyne, Ryan McArthur, Rushan Ritch, Jahaal Greaves, Marvin Carter and possibly Jeremey Garrett, are some of the players expected to make the trip on April 3.
“We have a good blend of seasoned players and young players and those young players just came back from the Concacaf U-20 Championships in Miami. We have good mix of youth and experience and it stands well for the club,” Thomas stated.
He further pointed out that defence is one area that needs strengthening and the return of Quincy Adams and Trevor Jones, a young promising player, and former national keeper Derrick Carter who will pair alongside Leon Sealy, will boost that that aspect of their game.
The club, which was formed in 1982, will vie with 12 other teams for a chance to play in the 2019 Scotiabank Concacaf League since the winner of the Caribbean Shield, provided it fulfils the Concacaf Regional Club Licensing criteria, will have the opportunity to face the fourth-place finisher of the 2019 Flow Concacaf Caribbean Club Championship in a playoff match to determine the fourth Caribbean representative in the League.