Fruta Conquerors query ‘safety measures’ ahead of potential Elite League restart

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By Akeem Greene

Defending champions of the Guyana Football Federation’s Elite League, Fruta Conquerors, are interested in the type of protocols they would have to abide by, if the League is granted permission to resume in March.

The Elite League is scheduled to recommence on March 14 and conclude on October 23 with weekly matches among the top 10 ranked teams in the country.

The League has been at standstill since May 27, 2019, with Conquerors defending their championship with a perfect record of nine wins.

Earlier this month, the GFF proposed a comprehensive competitions calendar for 2021, subject to conditions and approvals from the National COVID-19 Task Force, following a successful trial run of fan-free matches at the year-end Bounce Back Football Classic tournament.

Fruta Conquerors Club Secretary, Daniel Thomas

Fruta Conquerors Club Secretary, Daniel Thomas, while enthusiastic about the return of football, is curious about the type of COVID-19 measures that would be in place and how much responsibility would be placed on clubs, the majority of whom encounter financial challenges, even under normal circumstances.

“I think one of the biggest impediments right now that most clubs will be faced with, is exactly what will be required from each individual club for them to be part of the league in terms of the protocol,” he related to News Room Sport on Friday.

“I would expect that the GFF will be providing us some kind of menu of measures that we have to implement to secure players, coaches and auxilliary staff.”

He added, “It is a really trying time in having to monitor players, having tests done almost every other day, restricting the movement of players, and those are some of the challenges we will be faced with at the local level.”

Thomas further questioned whether the GFF would require all Elite players to be tested. He also wants clarity on the size of training sessions, and the frequency in the testing of the players.

The answer to those questions will guide the clubs’ preparations, he noted.

Thomas further pointed out that it will be a big challenge to play football in Guyana in the midst of a pandemic.

“There is always a danger when you have large clusters of persons involved in activities because we all know the issue of persons being asymptomatic, and that’s a recipe for disaster,” Thomas said.

“These players, if you make a mistake and you are not lucky and go home and pass it on to parents and grandparents, and most of these young men come from extended families and we have to bear those things in mind. So it is a dicey situation; I would love to see football resume, but you don’t want to sacrifice the safety and health of everyone involved to have it resume in an ad hoc manner.”

Looking at the big picture of the pool of national players, the long-standing football administrator felt a lot will depend on the discipline of players in limiting their interactions since the establishment of a ‘‘bubble’ in Guyana may not be financially feasible.

GFF President Wayne Forde told News Room Sport last November that it is impossible to play football in Guyana in a ‘bubble’ at this point in time.

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