No bubbles, no games, no fans; that has been the sad reality for some local sports over the past months, owing to the coronavirus pandemic.
Unlike the highly commercialised and largescale European football leagues, which are currently in full swing, one major sport in Guyana, football, has not been able to return to any semblance of normalcy.
In spite of this, Guyana Football Federation President Wayne Forde, during an exclusive interview with Guyana Times Sport, shared that there are both positives and negatives that the Federation has been able to take away from this situation.
Forde disclosed that the biggest impact of the pandemic has been on the inactivity of players and the development hours that have been lost.
“(People) tend to want to look at things from the negative side, but I think (the GFF) have chosen to look at it from the positive side. I think the biggest impact, of course, has been the inactivity of our players. When you give thought to the hours that go into developing a really good footballer, and you consider the hours that you’ve lost in an entire year, you know that (situation) is not good for the players, and that is going to have a lasting effect,” Forde explained.
the GFF President shared concerns about mental pressures and his hope that the idle time would be more positive than negative.
“Apart from what they would have lost in the development aspect of their game, you have to also consider the social and psychological injury that they would have suffered during this period. Not having something that is as exciting, engaging, and as fulfilling as football in a young player’s life will open portals for other things. We don’t know what those things are.” He continued by saying, “We’re hoping they’re more good than bad.”
On a lighter note, not only has the Guyana Football Federation utilised the time and moved to online engagements with technical staff to learn and formulate plans for players when football resumes, but, according to Forde, this might be a new, cost-effective way to keep the entire Federation and its associates in the loop.
“But what we will do, and what we have been doing, is work with the technical experts across the world: those at FIFA, at CONCACAF and within the other corners of our partnership, UEFA in particular. The technical staff have been learning as much as they can, and a lot of that learning will be adapted in strategies that we will use to bring our players safely back to competitive form, once the situation is under control,” The GFF President shared.
“We have taken the position that the online connectivity with our technical staff, the stakeholders, the members is the way of the future, so even when this situation turns around for the best, of course, we will continue to utilise that online facility because it gives us the opportunity to organise meetings and discussions very rapidly,” Forde said in expressing his intentions.
“The positive impact it has on cost cannot be ignore as well,” he went on to reveal.
From the GFF Secretariat’s standpoint, evaluation work has also been ongoing, with the help of a Human Resources consultant.
“I will tell you that we did a complete relook at the complete structure of the Guyana Football Secretariat. I don’t think that prior to now there was any really serious thought to making this place operate as a professional organisation. So, we’ve really looked at all the standard operating procedures, our employment structure, salary scale, job evaluation and job valuation,” Forde explained.
He concluded by saying, “So we’ve been working with an HR consultant, and we’re about to wrap up all of that work.”
Going forward, the Guyana Football Federation has had time to take a second look at projects, and implement others that Forde is hopeful would be rolled out in 2021.
“The positive is that we’ve really had enough time. We continue to have time to really look at everything we’ve been doing over the past couple of years. We’ve taken a note of those things that we feel comfortable we would’ve been able to execute successfully, and we’ve brought under the microscope many projects that we thought we hadn’t done as well as we could have,” the GFF boss stated.
With an air of confidence, he foreshadowed the Federation’s optimism for their 2021 plans. On this note, Forde commented, “We’ve now been given almost one year to really relook at the plans and strategies and some of the challenges with implementing those plans, and I’m very positive and optimistic that once the pandemic is brought under control in Guyana, we’ll be able to roll out many of the plans that we had initially put on the drawing board for 2020.”