Positive attention

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If the President of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF), Wayne Forde, delivers on implementing development programmes over the years and remains in check to do the best for football, then it is possible that the sport could become Guyana’s number one sport.

In addition there must be respect for positive contributions from opposition patterns set aside so football could get to the summit of all sports in Guyana.

However, it is easier said than done but it is not an inconceivable or impossible task. With strict regulations and governance reform then it is imminent.

It was reported in the media, ahead of the launch of the GFF-Pele Alumni Frank Watson Intra-Association U-15 Tournament that the GFF boss said that football will become the most successful and popular sport in Guyana as reform and development programmes bear fruit in coming years.

The reports further stated that with increased funding from world governing body FIFA and a stable administration in place, the GFF is working to lay a sustainable foundation for football across Guyana through grassroots and youth development, as well as strict regulations and governance reform.

Guyana’s Under-15 league is part of the GFF’s strategic plan to have consistent football played at every level. At the local level there are now two commercial partners that will ensure that football is played at the under-15 and under-17 year round for the next five years. In the recent history of Guyana there was no other period in Guyana’s football where there were commercial relationships that ensured that structured age specific football is played all year round in every association.

At Tuesday’s launch of the tournament, the public also heard that in a matter of weeks the GFF will be announcing a similar nationwide Under-13 League and there after a Under-20 league. This is all part of a bigger plan being implemented. Notably, the academy training centre is one of the most important components of football development in Guyana. These Leagues will feed players into those academies; the U13s, U15s, U17s and U20s will feed players into the academy.

According to the President, the GFF is already seeing results from the work that they have been doing at the youth level. One of these successes was a mere weeks ago when the Guyana Golden Jaguars U-17 team did exceptionally well in a tournament in Martinique to the extent that prevailed over the Region’s powerhouse Haiti 3-1.

These fresh implementations and drive to develop the sport here is commendable; however, there must not be an ‘overkill’ of tournaments without proper structure or ‘real development’.

At present football is regarded as the second most popular sport here behind the gentleman’s game; cricket.

However, if the infamous governing Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) continues to hammer cricket into the ground and the public’s interest is shifted, then Forde’s dream will be manifested very soon.

There seems to be a lot of potential development in and around football, one of it being the playing of more tournaments, especially youth competitions.

In contrast to football’s recent strides, the view of every cricket match or tournament organised by the GCB, there is poor structure. The GCB/Dave West Indian Imports Inter-County U-15 tournament is underway and prior to the tournament, the Demerara team only had one practice session at the Ogle Ground.

Preceding the inter-county tournament, the GCB – since there is no functioning Demerara Cricket Board (DCB) – was tasked with organising the Demerara inter-association tourney. The Georgetown team for the tournament was selected from a meeting the afternoon before the tournament. Locally, cricket has been stagnant and while some other sports; lawn tennis, volleyball and motor-racing have progressed over the years, those sports do not possess the scope like cricket and football.

In addition, football here seems to be gaining positive attention from the world governing body FIFA.

There might be several challenges that may prevent football from progressing rapidly but once the intentions are good and have a supportive and industrious team, then brighter days loom for football and the possibility of the sport emerging to the number one spot in Guyana is not impossible.