With the aim “to inspire the love for our game and provide children with access to more opportunities to play football across our 41 Member Associations”, the CONCACAF Next Play festival was hosted on Wednesday at the Guyana Football Federation’s National Training Centre (NTC), Providence, East Bank Demerara (EBD).
“Through the sport, we are promoting values, leadership and healthy lifestyles.
Our aim is to deliver an official Football and Education School Program to be implemented in the public school system by engaging in meaningful and sustainable ways with local communities and
using football as a tool for education and positive social change,” the official release added.
After several months of being introduced to the sport, nine teams on Wednesday had the opportunity to showcase their talents and skills as part of the culmination of the CONCACAF Next Play programme.
Described as a fantastic programme by country coordinator Bryan Joseph, the CONCACAF Next Play targeted primary schools in Guyana, in Regions Three, Four, Five, Six and 10.
The programme’s target audience were students under the age of 10 and it sought to introduce them to the sport while linking it to life lessons and challenges they may have experienced in their respective communities.
Linden’s Coomacka Primary and St Aiden’s Primary, West Demerara’s Blankenburg Primary, East Bank Demerara’s St Ann’s Primary, East Coast Demerara’s Victoria and Friendship Primary Schools, Berbice’s New Amsterdam Primary and Georgetown’s Sophia and Tucville Primary Schools were all involved in the Wednesday’s next Play festival.
The overall aim of the programme has two aspects. One is to introduce new players to the game. Obviously a hundred kids were impacted directly here and part of the selection process in the schools was try to identify kids that are not involved in clubs,” Joseph disclosed.
He further went on to state, “From a social aspect, it’s more of trying to link football practices that they may face at home. It was a fantastic programme that was able to achieve that link, so we have some rounded kids growing up.”
The Next Play initiative began back in September and initially catered to 10 schools, but finished with nine. While the students received information on the sport and life in general, the teachers were given coaches’ training as a precursor.
In his correspondence with the media, Joseph talked about the positive feedback the GFF has received.
“The feedback has been good; actually, we’ve had some schools ask if they can now expand the programme. When CONCACAF started the programme that was the idea; that at the end of the initial phase, that schools will see the need to keep working the programme. So, we’ve gotten that kind of feedback.”
Joseph went on to hint at the possibility of expanding the initiative in the future.
“Also, we’re contemplating trying to include some other schools. The CONCACAF programme is going to extend beyond the schools that are here initially.”
The schools will also keep their new equipment should they want to continue the activity on their own. (Jemima Holmes)