Guyana’s National Rugby male team is scheduled to compete against Mexico in the Rugby Americas North (RAN) 15s final on October 1, 2016. The Government of Guyana (GOG) in collaboration with the various sports associations through Argentina’s Ambassador to Guyana Luis Alberto Martino, has managed to recruit one of Argentina’s national coaches, Diego Giannantonio.
This was disclosed during a press conference held at the Argentine Embassy, Louisa Row, Georgetown today. According to Ambassador Martino, recruiting of the coach was a late call by the GOG, but noted thatsecuring of Giannantonio took only a mere three days.
However, Giannantonio has already begun preparing the men’s national rugby team for the uphill task they will face when they go up against rugby giant Mexico.
Ambassador Martino stated that, “I am happy to announce this agreement between our two governments in terms of coming to support in the last stage of preparations of the Guyanese rugby team.”
Ambassador Martino pointed out that requests have been made for a long-term agreement that will see Guyana producing better athletes. “Basically it is a three- tier project starting from early on in schools, primary schools to integrate programmes of sports,” the Ambassador explained.
At the press conference was Minister of Education Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine who supported the Ambassador’s idea to have sports in the schools from an early stage. The Minister said that education should not be measured by the number of subjects students pass at an examination, but by the quality of individuals that are produced when they leave school.
“We must ensure that sport occupies a very prominent place in the school curriculum because I believe it has everything to do with education,” the Minister explained.
The Minister added “I don’t believe it is enough to do this occasionally just to prepare for tournaments, but in fact to do it in a sustained way… if we can get the programme very active in school, then we can look at really increasing the number of people engaged in the game,” the Minister explained. He further revealed that the government is assisting with the team’s airfare.
Juman Yassin President of the Guyana Olympics Association supported the call to have sports rolled out in schools. Yassin noted that for it to be successful there is a need for the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) to play a major role.
Yassin explained that, “GTU will have to play a critical role in the development of sports in schools for sustainable development; the project will have to be anchored in schools.”
Giannantonio said that he was happy to be given the opportunity to help the “Green Machine” prepare Guyana for their match against Mexico. “In the short time that I have seen them, I believe that there is great human potential,” the coach explained.
However, the coach advised that for the team to garner even more success there must be adequate facilities for athletes to train. Giannantonio stated, “For the national team, it is fundamental to develop a good training programme. A ground that is in good condition that is minimum and balls that are in good condition.”
Head Coach of the men’s rugby team, Larry Adonis said that he was happy to have someone the caliber of Giannantonio to help prepare the team for their big match. “I think he brings a lot of international blend of rugby to our society, he is really and truly helping us out in the weaker part of the game,” the Adonis stated.
The national team will depart Guyana on September 27 and will continue preparations in host nation Mexico until game day.