HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS: PLAYERS RETURN TO FORMER CLUBS AS TRANSFER WINDOW SHUTS
2nd February, 2017; Georgetown: A flurry of transfer deals came to mark Deadline Day on Tuesday as players from various clubs across Guyana sought moves in the build-up to the resumption of league football. With four Elite League clubs unfortunately withdrawing from the league before the season commenced, as well as two of those clubs, Alpha United FC and Slingerz FC, also being removed from the 2017 CFU Club Championship, speculation had been mounting around which players from those clubs would seek moves elsewhere in a bid to play competitive football.
Grabbing the headlines were Fruta Conquerors FC, with the Elite League side making substantial additions to their roster in a quest to win the league title this season. Fruta brought in veteran striker Anthony ‘’Awo’’ Abrams from Alpha United, a player who featured for the club a few years ago, as well as securing returns for young talented players Pernell Schultz and Kareem Knights on loan deals from Trinidadian side Morvant Caledonia, a club owned by former Golden Jaguars Head Coach Jamaal Shabazz.
Speaking exclusively, Anthony Abrams outlined his motivation to join Fruta, ‘’President of the club Alex Bunbury approached me and told me the long-term plan of the club is to build for the future. The club has a lot of young players, and my ambition in joining the club is to guide them using my experience’’
Abrams however, has not only joined the club to work as a mentor to future stars, he also harbours immediate aspirations for the team: ‘’We are currently training hard, we will dig deep and try to win the Elite League Championship this season, our target is to qualify for the 2018 CFU Club Championship. I have left a club (Alpha) that had a winning mentality, so I am determined to win’’.
Abrams, who has played in CFU Club Championships before, has used his experience of playing the game for years to stay fit despite not having played club football for a few months: ‘’For years I have always dedicated myself to football, I don’t smoke, I don’t drink, I go for runs in the park every day, in that way I have kept my fitness at a high level, so when I am suddenly called upon, as I was for the Golden Jaguars last year, I am always ready to perform’’.
With Jahall Greaves and Joshua Brown returning to the club and the recruitment of experienced players King Solomon Austin and Konata Mannings, Fruta now have strength in depth and will be looking to take number one spot from current leaders GDF FC, who themselves made six new signings in the window.
For 25 year old striker Kevin Beaton, who was called up to the Golden Jaguars squad in 2015, the disappointment of being unable to play Elite League football was compounded by the fact that he had come from the United States of America to feature for GFC before they withdrew from the league, yet he has now secured a move to Top XX FC, becoming the Linden club’s marquee signing this window. ‘’Top XX is near my hometown, and it is a club I started my senior career with, so I have an attachment to the club, having watched them play in the Elite League this season, I feel like I will be a great fit’’ Beaton emphasized.
In the first half of the Elite League season, Top XX FC received a harsh welcome to the realities of the league, and as such Beaton remains a sense of realism in his ambitions for the remainder of the season: ‘’I really do think we can fight for the top four, but we will have to work really hard as a team, both defensively and attacking-wise, we have to stick to a game plan and I personally will try to score in every single game’’.
Outside of the Elite League, current GFA League Champions Western Tigers FC made an abundance of signings, with their nine new faces including outstanding defender Colin Nelson as well as Devon Millington, who was such a crucial figure for Slingerz FC in the inaugural Elite League season. Also joining is prolific goal-scorer Hubert Pedro, who had left Fruta Conquerors FC last summer to join GFC, but has now made the move to another Georgetown Club in the form of Western Tigers FC.
Linden Pickett, a talented left-back, made a move from GFC to Western Tigers FC and has so far seen encouraging signs at the club: ‘’I had played for the club earlier in my career, the team right now is quite a good tea, and has high quality players, so I turned up (to training) and found the chemistry I had with the players there was as if we had been playing together all our lives’’.
A mature young man, Pickett stayed fit during periods of inactivity before the window opened, working in the gym relentlessly: ‘’I contacted physical trainer Orlando Guirola and I tell you, every second of pain, whether it was doing weight training, or running at breathless speeds, was worth it, I gained fitness’’. Mentally and physically ready to play competitive football once again, Pickett will be hoping that Western Tigers one day make an entry into the Elite League, and judging by their recent signings, they have laid down a statement of intent that they do have one eye on entering Guyana’s premier competition in the future.
Elsewhere in the league, we saw more players return to their hometown clubs, Elite League MVP Trayon Bobb made the move from Slingerz FC to Utivulgt United FC, the club he played for as a youth, while National Under-23 striker and fellow Slingerz FC player Domini Garnett made the move back to East Bank club Grove Hi-Tech FC, where his prolific form was critical in him earning a move to Trinidad and Tobago in 2015. Buxton United FC strengthened with the signing of former GFC player Keron Solomon, while Victoria Kings FC made two very shrewd signings in the form of Tichard Joseph and Sherwin Skeete, two players with massive potential. Further down in the association leagues, Den Amstel FC made a massive coup with the signing of prolific striker Delon Lanferman and former National defender Kester Jacobs while Upper Demerara side Eagles United FC made a very astute signing in the form of Slingerz midfielder Clive Nobrega.
A special mention must also be made to Vurlon Mills, a very talented player who has demonstrated promise, both as a player and as a coach working with youth players. Mills secured an overseas loan deal to Trinidad and Tobago Pro League Champions San Juan Jabloteh.
This means that Mills will be featuring for them in the 2017 CFU Club Championship. It is also important to mention that due to off-field issues, Mills will be the only Guyanese player featuring in the 2017 CFU Club Championships, which is a sad state of affairs for the development of the game in Guyana.
They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, and that has certainly been the dominant theme of this transfer window, with many a player making a return to the club they started their playing careers for, in the hope that they can push their respective clubs to the next level. With teams across both the Elite League and association leagues massively strengthening this window due to the absence of, in particular, Alpha United FC and Slingerz FC, there will certainly be a highly competitive battle amongst teams for top honours across Guyana this year.
For more information, please contact:
Debra Francis (Ms.)
Communications and Public Relations Officer
Tel: 592 227 8758 ext. 105 (o)