Let’s not beat around the bush: cricket is the religion of the Caribbean, but Guyanese take it a little further – it’s the blood which flows through our veins.
The announcement by President Irfaan Ali therefore that Guyana will first the first time host the finals of the Caribbean Premiere League (CPL) this year – and for the next two years as well – has already translated into mass hysteria. And it’s not just the cricket. The country is throwing in all sorts of events – parties, tours…and more parties… for a two-week carnival extravaganza.
Another sport journalist, Akeem Greene, agrees.
“Guyana has without question been the heartbeat of the tournament over its nine seasons,” he says.
Even though Guyana was not a host last year, the total sponsorship value for Guyana was US$48.5 million, with the matches beamed to a worldwide audience of over 500 million.
Now, with as many as 11 games coming to be played this year, that number is expected to rise significantly, and could possibly break the tournament’s record for sponsorship value per individual territory.
But it’s not just the money riding on Guyana’s hosting of the games – it’s the very blood and spirit of a nation.
The national team has made the finals a record five times, but never won.
The heartbreak was crushing every single year, but the supporters have girded their loins for renewed battle, salivating for an eventual victory.
Could the Amazon Warriors, this year, on home turf, turn those tears of anguish into tears of jubilation?
We’ll just have to wait and see!