Sport Minister impressed by quality of play at “historic” Bounce Back tournament
Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Charles Ramson Jr., said he was impressed by the quality of play in what he deemed a “historic” return of competitive football in Guyana.
Ramson’s Ministry had teamed up with the Kashif and Shanghai Organisation and the Guyana Football Federation to stage the Bounce Back Football Classic, a four-team, two-day tournament that ended on New Year’s Day with Georgetown All Stars pipping Linden All Stars 1-0 in the final.
Speaking to media operatives after the final at the National Stadium, Providence, Ramson Jr. said: “First of all, we’re very pleased to be creating history here. This is a historic event for several reasons. One is that we are able to do this safely during a pandemic, recognising that this is pandemic is a challenge it forced us to think laterally, forced us to innovate.”
“When we started to examine our options, it was important that when we have the product of broadcasting that it must be of a high standard. The people who are looking at home and the people who are looking on the internet, all across the world actually, they are able to see that Guyana is producing something of a very high standard. That is something that all Guyanese should feel product about.”
Because of the existing COVID-19 restrictions, matches were played behind closed doors, with the championship game streamed live on NCN Channel 11, E-Networks, HJ TV and the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport’s Facebook page.
“In relation to the quality of football, it was impressive. Impressive, especially when you consider the circumstances; the circumstances have been severe because anyone who plays sports (would know) if you don’t get that constant practice you start losing your touch. These guys have come out here and shown that they are at a good level to be able to progress quickly; at least that would be the hope because we have (World Cup) Qualifiers in March,” Ramson stated.
Georgetown All Stars needed just a solitary goal, which came from Kelsey Benjamin in the 69th minute, to lift the title.
For the win, Georgetown All Stars copped the championship trophy and one million dollars, while Linden All Stars had to settle for the runner-up prize of $500,000.
On the opening day on Tuesday at the same venue, Linden All Stars defeated East Coast All Stars 4-2 and Georgetown All Stars got the better of West Side All Stars 3-2.
The matches signalled the commencement of competitive action after nine months of inactivity due to COVID-19. All players were tested for COVID-19 prior to the event.
The tournament received corporate backing from KFC Guyana, Ground Structures Engineering Consultants, the Trophy Stall, Mohamed’s Enterprise, ExxonMobil and Tiger Rentals.