Kellman among five new signings by Slingerz FC ahead of Elite League
The Guyana Football Federation (GFF) transfer window closed on January 31, and five budding talents opted to move to Slingerz Football Club, who are back in the Elite League after not featuring since winning the inaugural tournament in 2015-16.
Curtez Kellman, Darron Niles, Marcus Wilson, Shemar Fraser and Marcus Tudor make up the talented quintet.
After a rigorous session at the GFF’s National Training Facility at Providence on Wednesday, the players related their excitement over the move. They believe it will be the catalyst for development that will lead to more consistent international exposure.
Arguably the most valued transfer is Kellman, an active national player who comes with a wealth of knowledge from a long-standing club, Western Tigers.
The mid-fielder related it was an emotion-filled decision to move given his strong relationship with the Tigers’ hierarchy and management staff.
“I know this league is going to be very competitive, and being with a great group of players who can achieve great things has motivated me to take a step forward,” Kellman related to News Room Sport.
Similarly, Tigers teammate Marcus Wilson said he wanted a “new goal, a new experience” and is enthused that he will have more training sessions to help develop his career tactically and as a leader in the defensive line.
Talented 20-year-old Niles, a former Santos Football Club player, is now making inroads into the senior Golden Jaguars. He views this move as an opportunity to grasp knowledge in an environment filled with experienced players who can channel his progress in the right direction.
Fraser, who moved from Guyana Police Force Football Club, has a similar endeavour to Niles to be surrounded by vastly experienced players where he can be challenged to improve and learn more about football.
Another young and promising player, Tudor took a giant leap in moving from Milerock in Linden.
The forward, who recently returned from playing school football in Jamaica, said that even though the moves mean greater sacrifice on his part, “I think Slingerz is a more developed club than my club, and I had to make a move since no football is playing in my region.”
Meanwhile, Head Coach Charles ‘Lilly’ Pollard is happy with the transfers, noting it will add more significant competition for spots on the starting team.
Though the region is filled with immense local talent, the former national player said everyone must be cautious in their expectations and that reaching the summit is a process.
Season Six of the Elite League will feature the defending champions, the Guyana Defence Force, Western Tigers, the Guyana Police Force, Fruta Conquerors, Den Amstel, Buxton United, Ann’s Grove United, Santos, Monedderlust, and Slingerz.
The GFF Elite League Promotion Playoff promoted the last pair of clubs in January.
Similar to Season Five, the champions of the upcoming season will be awarded a prize of G$2,000,000, while second, third, and fourth-place finishers will also receive prizes of G$1,200,000, G$800,000 and G$500,000.
The bigger prize for Elite League teams would be a chance to compete in the Caribbean Shield tournament.
The CONCACAF Caribbean Shield, also known as the CONCACAF Caribbean Club Shield, is an annual Caribbean football competition for clubs that are members of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU).
Fruta Conquerors is the last team to qualify for the tournament in 2021, but did not attend after it was postponed from its initial period in April owing to concerns over COVID-19.
In an interview in January, GFF’s Director of Competitions, Troy Peters, told News Room Sport that the opportunity will remain for the league champions, but teams must meet the CONCACAF Club Licensing criteria.
“While you might be the champion team in Guyana, if you don’t have a women’s arm, you don’t have youth division, you don’t have playing facilities of an international standard, that will peg you back from advancing to play in the CONCACAF Shield Cup,” Peters outlined.
The GFF is working with the clubs to reach those requirements, and Peters noted, “In Guyana’s context, we have to strive really hard to get the teams on par with what is happening in the region.”