By Rawle Toney
Could this be the end of a 23 year-old tradition, or the dawn of a new era for the Kashif and Shanghai Organization?
Once considered the ‘Holy Grail’ of local football, the Kashif and Shanghai Football Tournament stood alone and was Guyana’s premier sporting event, but just like time, things changed.
A bad political move, the emergence of the Georgetown Football Association (GFA)/Banks Beer Cup the last two years, and a breakdown in negotiations with the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) has forced the Kashif and Shanghai Organisation to call it a day for their Annual year-end championship.
“I think it’s the best thing for us to do right now; pull out and focus on youth football” explained Kashif Muhammad during an interview with News Source.
“ The thing is, we know we still had some people and business that would’ve liked for us to pull off a tournament this year, but in the end it was up to the GFF to give us that go ahead and then too, the arrangements they were making its just like if they had told us NO” Muhammad said.
He further added “They (GFF) were asking for things that were honestly impossible and then at the same time, wants to give the Georgetown Football Association (GFA) a chance to run their tournament as well. People need to understand that the GFA tournament was illegal for the past two years when they were not even under the GFF but we have been there year-in-year out giving our local players a big stage to perform and showcase their talent”
“Think about it, the GFA and Kashif and Shanghai gets a go ahead to host, and then we now, still have to ask the GFA to release their top clubs, because let’s be honest, it makes no sense keeping a tournament if you don’t have the best teams and players in the country and what you think will happen? The GFA will obviously hold onto their teams for their tournament” Muhammad also noted.
Asked if this means that they are inevitably calling it a day, Muhammad said “as it is right now, we’re going to focus on the school’s football a bit because I think they also need a chance to shine and be seen”
The Kashif and Shanghai tournament is credited by many as the main stay of Guyana’s football and also giving some of the country’s well known stars a stepping stone to higher heights in the sport.
It all started with a break-up in 20011 with long time sponsor Banks DIH over sponsorship which saw Ansa McAl under their Stag Beer brand taking the space of the local beverage giants.
A fall out with the then Colin Klass led GFF and GFA for the right to be given full membership, saw the birth of the Banks Football Tournament.
Instantly, it became a hit, drawing the usual crowd that would be seen at the Kashif and Shanghai Tournament and even led to some football followers to take to Facebook and other form of social media to shed their dissatisfaction at how Kashif and Shanghai had handled their affairs.
Of the most though, the people of Linden felt disrespected, since it was in the mining town the tournament was born.
On December 26, 1990, at the Mackenzie Sports Club Ground, Milerock defeated Eagles United 2 – 1 to lift what would become Guyana’s most converted football trophy.
It was Linden’s biggest pay day as hotels were filled, street vendors from across the country headed up to region #10 since January 1st the only thing that mattered around Guyana was the Kashif and Shanghai Football Finals.
2008 that saw Pele edging Camptown 1 – 0 was the last Linden has seen of K&S Finals with the organizers noting that the event had outgrown the MSC Ground and moved it to the Guyana National Stadium the following year.
Their move sparked a widespread condemnation by primarily the business community of Linden, with many calling the Kashif and Shanghai team ungrateful.
Up until 2011, the Guyana National Stadium use to be sea of football craved spectators but then things took a turn for the worse when GFA/Banks Beer Football came to the forefront.
More money was being dished out by the beverage Giants who took advantage of the turmoil in Guyana’s football to grip the sport in what many is calling a never ending hold.