By Sam Sooppersaud
During week I received three phone calls from three cricket fans, wanting to know whether there is any truth to rumors that the region’s Under-19 coach, Ricky Kissoon will be removed from his assignment. My answers to all three gentlemen were that I have not heard anything, but I will try to find out if there is any truth to the rumors.
Keeping my promise to the fans, I made numerous phone calls, to people “in the know”, in The Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens; persons who are constantly around the game. A summation of my calls made me to think that there is some truth to the rumors. Apparently, personnel in the New York Regional administration are not too pleased with the “press” that Coach Ricky Kissoon is getting. These malcontents feel that Ricky’s star is shining brighter than theirs and hence it should be dimmed. Who is behind the conspiracy to axe the coach? One name keeps repeating. I will get back to that.
Who is Ricky Kissoon? As a player in his more youthful days, he captained the Cosmos Cricket organization. he was an excellent left arm spinner who performed well year after year. He represented the NY Cricket Region on several occasions. He was called to trials for the USACA senior team three times. Ricky, although not a “spring chicken” anymore, still plays league cricket, and is still a productive bowler for his club.
Coach Kissoon has a wealth of knowledge working with youths. After all he is an educator, a licensed New York City Board of Education school teacher. He is working with youths every day. Ricky is around cricket nearly every waking hour of the day. His passion is organizing and working with the youthful cricketers. Only last year he took the teams he put together and coached, The Bronx Kings, to the finals of the PAL, the Police Athletic League.
On a professional level, Coach Kissoon is the Assist Commissioner of cricket in the PSAL, the Public Schools Athletic League. He works closely with Commissioner Mr. Bassett Thompson and Cricket Administrator Ms. Lorna Austin in setting up and running the schools tournament. The PSAL program is the most successful cricket program focusing on youths, in the New York Metropolitan area. Cricketers from the PSAL program have gone on to represent the NY Region and the USACA senior team as well.
Allow me to touch, briefly, on recent history in the NY Region. You recalled that last year the Chairman of the region, Mr. Morrishaw was forced out of that position. The person behind that coup was Mr. Krish Prasad, the Regional Representative to the board of USACA. Getting the axe also were Under-19 coach, Mr. Fraser and manager, Dr. Dodson. Numerous trumped-up charges were given as the reasons for the firings. In their places were appointed Mr. Selwyn Caesar, former treasurer of USACA, as Regional Chairman, and Zamin Amin, as coach of the region’s Under-19 squad. Both these gentlemen are close associates of Mr. Prasad. Krish involved in the latest rumor! Dunno know! Let’s wait and see how this will play out.
My sources tell me that Mr. Caesar has no plans to remove Coach Kissoon in as much as he is being pressured to do so. The other members of the regional administration are split. As you know the regional administration comprises of the leagues’ presidents, and four members appointed (elected) by the administration (Regional Representatives). The pervading feelings among the representatives is that Coach Kissoon has done a good job, so far. The New York Region is the Eastern Conference Under-19 Champions, a title won by the Under-19 squad coached by Ricky. There is an old saying, “don’t fix it if it ain’t break”.
The NY Region Under-19 is now preparing for the USACA National Championship, to be played November 12-14 2010, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It is believed that “the powers-that-be” are contemplating removing Coach Kissoon and replacing him with the national Under-19 coach, Mr. Shivnarine. Does everything look “kosher” here? To add further to the mystery, it is alleged that if Mr. Caesar does not agree to replace the coach, then his head may roll.
I, myself, have been around the cricket scene in the New York area for five decades. In addition to being a player, I have been the president of a league (Brooklyn CL) and a secretary of a league (EACA). I have been involved in the formation of several cricket clubs. In all my involvements, one thing I have always noticed (experienced). That is the need by some people to get into high positions and then wield power, indiscriminately. They have to “be the straw that stir the drink”. Their motive: ME, MYSLF, and I.
Coach Ricky Kissoon is doing a fine job. Leave him alone. Concentrate on programs that will help uplift cricket. Look around the cricket park. You’ll see more young men coming into the game. There are more youths now than the older guys in the game. This is due largely to the PSAL and PAL cricket programs. Over 75% of the youths in the NY Under-19 are from the PSAL, of which Ricky Kissoon is the Assistant Commissioner. He is not about to “steal your show” guys, but to help bring home a National Championship to the New York Cricket Region.