By Rawle Welch President of the Guyana Olympic Association (GOA) K. Juman Yassin’s enduring pursuit of power is beginning to bear semblance to that of disgraced former FIFA Persident Sepp Blatter’s rule of world football’s governing body.
Blatter’s reign lasted for 18 years, during which time it was tainted with all types of allegations and his support for unacceptable officials that evidently plunged the organisation into frequent crisis, eventually leading to his downfall and many of his trusted lieutenants. While Yassin’s leadership of the GOA has not created any tsunami (s) comparable with FIFA’s, his poor understanding about the requirements to advance sports, combined with an obvious failure to utilise his office on a consistent basis to benefit our athletes has certainly stymied Sport Development thereby crushing the aspirations of many young athletes. Blatter’s occupancy at the helm of world football was a mixture of good deeds and bad ones, but his collapse according to many, was due mainly to his insatiable thirst to hold on to the reins of power at all cost. One writer aptly described Blatter as, “the man who stayed too long.” Yassin’s preoccupation with holding on to the GOA’s top post even after 20-plus years is beginning to take the shape of the former FIFA Boss’s brazen ambition to govern the sport until he decided to quit. Blatter gave his deputies enough administrative scope to engage in wrong-doing in an effort to garner their support come Congress time, while Yassin’s modus operandi of patronage to a few organisations has been so effective that despite his glaring failure they somehow feel duty-bound to return him to office. This surrender of obligation to country and sport comes at the expense of real Sport Development, once again sacrificing the efforts of the nation’s young athletes. The recent flurry by GOA officials to give handouts to a few associations is nothing more than an election gimmick and must be seen as just that. After years of being in office, all of Guyana for the first time is beginning to see office bearers of this association displaying themselves in public in the form and shape of dishing out goodwill on behalf of the GOA, perhaps to give Guyanese a reminder of who and who exists within the Establishment. It gave the impression that it was a moment for them to suddenly surface after being left in the wilderness for almost the entire duration of their term in office. To be frank, it appeared deliberately conspiratorial and indicative of a campaign strategy. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) recently announced that it will be distributing $500million among its members and it will be interesting to know how Guyana’s sum will be utilised. With the IOC urging all members to be transparent by making full disclosures of its operations, including disbursements of funding and other related support; the litmus test will come when questions are asked about such matters. It was said that Blatter harboured ambition of winning a Nobel Prize, but sadly that will remain an unrealized dream in light of his disgraced exit. There is no evidence to suggest that Yassin’s thinking is as grandiose as Blatter’s, but his own might be to secure a lasting legacy. However, if he continues to vie for the top post, such a desire will be remembered more for underachieving rather than real contribution towards the development of Sport. He ought to be able to recognize the need to allow someone else to make a fresh start, before it is too late. Should he choose to contest, it could very well hasten the disappearance of his already tattered image. As Shakespeare once wrote, “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.
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