Hockey board seeks audience with Sports Minister
- on astro-turf issue By Michael DaSilva
Stabroek News
March 19, 2003

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Guyana Hockey Board of Control (GHBC) executives are making every effort to ensure the country secures an artificial surface in the near future and are seeking an audience with Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Gail Teixeira.

This was disclosed by recently re-elected president of the GHBC Phillip Fernandes while delivering his report at the annual general meeting of the GHBC.

Fernandes said the executive has once more been making efforts to have an audience with Teixeira to continue discussions about the acquisition of an artificial turf for hockey.

Fernandes said there has been no progress for the year on the issue of land for an artificial surface.

"For the improvement of local hockey, it is imperative to be exposed to foreign competition, since, until Guyana possesses its own artificial surface, this will only be possible through travels abroad," Fernandes stated.

Fernandes, an active first division hockey player, said, despite receiving a late invitation from the Barbados Hockey Federation, a Guyana national team, hastily put together gave a good account of themselves.

The local squad lost to the Barbados national team in both of the matches played but was also able to pull off a convincing victory over the Barbados national junior team.

Fernandes also applauded the efforts of those male players from the different clubs who were able to not only compete at the annual Banks Hockey Festival in Barbados, but were able to make it to the semi-final round, despite playing as a team for the very first time.

He also lauded the Everest Hikers ladies team for completing a successful ladies tour to the Banks tournament.

The GCC first division captain blamed the recent crime wave, the ever-reliable rain and early fading light during the latter part of 2002 for the GHBC not being able to complete its activities as was scheduled.

"To sustain whatever development was achieved, we need continuous activities for our youth throughout the year and the Guyana Hockey Board of Control's executive is disappointed to have staged only three tournaments for the year," Fernandes lamented.

The unavailability of grounds during the cricket season also hampered the GHBC's programmes, Fernandes added.

"Our hockey season, which already faces so many obstacles, is under threat of being squeezed even further. There is much debate taking place over the availability of the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall for hockey and efforts are being made to ensure that no official decision is made to suspend hockey from this facility," the midfielder stated.

The 2002 season opened with the V8 Splash Indoor Championship and the ladies category was won by Everest Hikers who defeated surprise finalists Western Dragons, while GCC dominated the men's category, with both their A and B teams reaching the final. The younger, faster, hungrier `B' team beat their seniors in a penalty shootout after a one-all tie at full time.

The John Fernandes Insurance Services Ltd Second division championship started a short time after but, due to several interruptions throughout the year, was not completed until this year. In the final, Everest Hikers edged GCC in a penalty stroke shoot-out.

The Farfan & Mendes 1st division championship also suffered delays with the final match only being completed this year. GCC once again emerged the victors.

The GHBC has been able to utilise the GCC, Everest and Police grounds in the usual manner throughout the year and they continue to be available except for when there is international cricket or rain. The Uitvlugt Community Centre ground is also available for use, Fernandes stated.

Apart from Fernandes, all the other executives minus Debbie Archer, were re-elected to office. Dexter Wyles was elected assistant secretary/ treasurer.

The other executives are: Brian Asregado and Ronald Pinder (vice-presidents), Gregory Sills (secretary) and Ivor Thompson (treasurer).

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