President Jagdeo urges under-15 cricketers to be good ambassadors By Michael DaSilva
Stabroek News
July 9, 2002

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President Bharrat Jagdeo yesterday took leave from his busy schedule to meet Guyana’s under-15 cricketers, prior to the launch of the team’s encampment.

The President paid the national under-15 team members a visit and chatted with the players at the Carifesta Sports Complex, before returning to the Presidential Complex where he had matters of State on hand.

"I just wanted to come over and wish you well on your tour to England, and to let you know how important it is that you be good ambassadors for Guyana," Jagdeo said, adding that "you have to perform well, people will be looking at you and see Guyana, so you must be good ambassadors for your country on and off the field."

The 15-member team along with manager S.K. Singh and coach Michael Hyles will be leaving for a historic tour of England next month and will commence encampment immediately in Georgetown.

Speaking at the launch yesterday, British High Commissioner to Guyana, Edward Glover told the gathering of cricketers and their parents, along with members of the Guyana Cricket Board and Ministry of Education and Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports representatives, that yesterday’s ceremony was a very special occasion. He wished the team well on their tour.

"Play hard cricket, play to win, play the West Indian way, open strokes and fast bowling," Glover advised the team.

The high commissioner said the team can expect a remarkably warm welcome in England and advised them to snatch up the opportunities of seeing what his country has to offer. He also warned them that the tour will be an extensive one.

Glover advised the youths to play a hard game since it’s the only way they will become better cricketers. "You might meet people who might say in another few years I want this player to play for my club," Glover stated. In closing the high commissioner said the team’s presence in England will make the Guyana/England relationship more meaningful.

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Gail Teixeira, in her feature address and her first public appearance since being involved in a recent motor vehicle accident, like Glover, said the occasion is very special especially since it is the first time that a Guyanese under-15 cricket team will be going to England.

Teixeira said the idea of the tour came about when the English under-15 cricketers toured Guyana last year. "We said why not do it." She however pointed out that coming just after the last elections, with the street protests and everything else, "we were able to convince the English manager to include Guyana in their tour of the Caribbean and when they came they were overwhelmed with our hospitality."

Minister Teixeira said the planning committee for the tour was studying whether to call off the tour, but they were brave enough and went ahead. "We were able to show that as a team we were well organised and can take care of our visitors."

The minister also reminded team members to be a disciplined bunch and to the mothers present yesterday, Teixeira said, "I think that as a mother, we will be very proud of our sons."

The sports minister called on the players to give of their best and to be good ambassadors.

According to Teixeira, $5.9M had to be raised to offset encampment and getting the team to England along with some gear for the players. And she thanked all those persons who contributed to the realisation of the tour.

Director of Sport, Neil Kumar, in a short address, congratulated the players for reaching such heights and said he is happy to see some of the players who participated in the Ministry’s tournaments over the past three years, being selected for the tour.

The team’s manager, S.K. Singh, thanked all the persons responsible for selecting the team and promised to be good ambassadors on tour. "We will win," Singh declared, adding "we hope to keep our winning ways against the English, when we get there we hope to make all Guyana proud."

Team captain Karan Ganesh, who in 1993 was the youngest member of the Malteenoes Cricket Academy at age seven, thanked the Ministry for making the tour possible and stated that he knows his players will be good ambassadors for Guyana.

In his opening address, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, Keith Booker, told the gathering the occasion was simply to bring the players, their parents and the organisers together to let each and every one know that the tour was not confined to the ministry alone.

Booker pointed out that during the team’s encampment, players will not be taught cricket alone, but they will also be taught about their country’s history and etiquette, among other subject areas.

Booker said he hopes when the next Guyana under-15 team goes to England, the players’ parents would be able to accompany them like the English parents do when their kids are on tour. "I hope that today will be the beginning of a new individual. You are not leaving as cricketers only, but as ambassadors and I hope that at the end of the day you will be good ambassadors," Booker stated.