Guyana recruits Argentine rugby coach for clash against Mexico

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Argentina’s world class national rugby coach, Diego Giannantonio, has been solicited to assist Guyana’s national rugby male team, known as the ‘Green Machine’ ahead of their much anticipated match against a powerhouse Mexico team in the Rugby Americas North (RAN) 15s final on October 1, 2016.

Recruiting the services of Giannantonio has been facilitated through Argentina’s Ambassador to Guyana, Luis Alberto Martino who acted on a late request by the Guyana Government for assistance.

Minister of Education, Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine
                                          Minister of Education, Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine

Addressing a news conference yesterday at the Argentine Embassy in Georgetown, Ambassador Martino said while recruiting of the coach was a late call by the Guyana Government, securing the services 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.”

Argentina Coach, Diego Giannantonio
Argentina Coach, Diego Giannantonio

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 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.

“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,” he explained. Dr Roopnaraine further revealed that the government is assisting with the team’s airfare.

President of the Guyana Olympics Association, Juman Yassin, 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.

Argentina Ambassador to Guyana, Luis Martino
                                        Argentina Ambassador to Guyana, Luis Martino

Yassin said the 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 he was happy to be given the opportunity to help Guyana’s “Green Machine” prepare  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 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,” Adonis stated.

The national team will depart Guyana on September 27 and will continue preparations in host nation Mexico until game day. (GINA)

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