Hockey silver medal might earn Guyana high world ranking By Faizool Deo
Guyana Chronicle
May 13, 2007

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GUYANA’S field hockey performance at the second Bolivarian Alternation for the Americans (ALBA) Games might catapult the men’s hockey team to a favourable world-ranking position.

The team earned a silver medal at the Games in Caracas, Venezuela (April 27 to May 12). The Guyanese men drew 2-2 with Jamaica then lost to power-house Cuba 13-1 before defeating Uruguay 4-0.

With momentum in their corner, Guyana edged out the home team 1-0 and defeated Puerto Rico 6-5 to earn a place in the finals, where they were against mauled by Cuba 11-0.

At the Georgetown Cricket Club (GCC) yesterday, president of the Guyana Hockey Board (GHB) Phillip Fernandes who skippered the team in Venezuela was in high praise for his side.

He pointed out that prior to this competition Guyana last competed at an international field hockey competition in 1994, resulting in the country not being ranked for several years.

The hockey head however feels that with the performance of the team in Venezuela, the country might climb high in the rankings once it is updated.

Uruguay are ranked 33, Venezuela are ranked 50, Puerto Rico are ranked 55 and Jamaica are ranked 69. The gold medal winners are ranked 25.

Fernandes noted that Cuba’s performance was above par because they were unique in their preparations and general training methods. They employed a full-time coaching staff and were equipped with players who dedicated themselves to the national programme.

Hockey was propelled in Cuba by Guyanese stalwart and national captain George Powdar, according to Fernandes. The hockey head said that field hockey can rise further if an artificial surface is built in Guyana.

Fernandes said that if land can be acquired there is a chance that the international bodies would assist. “The GHB have been promised such assistance in the past by officials of the international organisation only to fail in its bid to secure a piece of land where hockey would be priority and therefore such a surface (the artificial surface) can be laid.”

Fernandes added that in 2001, president of the Pan-American Hockey Federation, Tony Von Ordanza, had told him that the Federation was willing to make money available for the venture.

Six years later, Fernandes is not sure as to the availability of the money but he said Ordanza was still encouraging him at the Games to get the artificial surface built. Efforts to acquire the land will once again be the main priority of the Board as it looks towards developing hockey in Guyana.