Kelsey Benjamin and Ryan Hackett will head to Canada in the coming weeks to take part in pre-season trials with professional Canadian Premier League (CPL) outfit Valour FC, thanks to an opportunity brokered by former Canadian international Alex Bunbury’s ABSAA organisation.
Plaisance-born Bunbury made the announcement during Senior Men’s National Team training session at the Guyana Football Federation National Training Centre at Providence, where 21- year-olds midfielder Hackett and forward Benjamin are part of the domestic-based squad preparing for 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers next month.
“It means a lot,” Hackett said. “I would like to get a professional contract outside. Thank you to Mr. Bunbury and the Guyana Football Federation, who have helped me develop this far. I want to go out there and grab this opportunity.”
Benjamin, who scored the winner for Georgetown All Stars in the final of the GFF Bounce Back Classic in January, also thanked Mr. Bunbury and the Federation, expressing his determination to succeed. “The sky is the limit,” he said.
Professional side Valour had expressed a keen interest in assessing under-23 players from Guyana during their pre-season camp, expected to take place in April. Supported by the GFF, it is hoped this breakthrough opportunity will open the door to further trials for Guyanese players.
“My objective is to give these young players the opportunity to go to higher heights,” said Bunbury. “One of the great opportunities that we have been able to organise is to have them go to Canada and try out for a CPL franchise. I’m excited about it and I think the whole country should be excited about it.”
“They are both very talented and also very young. We know we have a lot of talented players. They just need to get into a professional environment. This will open up a lot of opportunities for other players. It’s going to say a lot about the talent that Guyana has.”
Earlier this month, Bunbury was pivotal in securing a full sports scholarship at Chicago State University for Golden Jaguars forward Nicholas McArthur.
“This is very important for our development,” said Golden Jaguars Head Coach Marcio Maximo. “We want to create opportunities for these players. It is very important to encourage them and to give them motivation. We need to put these players into competitive markets and give them the chance to shine.”