GFF President optimistic about impact of astroturf on players’ development
The Frank Watson Under-15 tournament opened a whole new level of possibilities for the way football is being developed in Guyana, covering areas such as grassroots development and exposure.
Over the past weekend, the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) Pele Alumni Frank Watson tournament moved out of the Regional Member Associations level and graduated to the national level, where the champions of the respective regions travelled to compete against each other.
Without a doubt, the GFF’s National Training Centre at Providence was alive with
activity over the weekend and played an integral role in the hosting of the first two clusters of the national competition.
While the facility is not yet completed, the most important aspect, the astroturf playing surface, is up and running and served well on Saturday and Sunday when the Under-15 players were exposed to this type of playing surface for the first time.
“It’s a historic day beyond that for Guyana football, l because this is the first officially sanctioned GFF tournament that is being played at the new national training centre. I know it’s a big occasion for these players and it’s also a big occasion for the fraternity and for all of Guyana.” Those were the sentiments expressed by GFF President Wayne Forde.
Giving an assessment of the talent on show over the weekend, the GFF President noted that the players would need to adjust to the new surface.
“I think they need a lot of adjustment because many of them would have been playing on surfaces where it’s uneven and the ball changes direction on its way to you and all that, so, having to cope with a ball that goes where you pass it and comes straight at you is difficult. Also judging the bounce, judging the pace, you can see that they’re trying to make that adjustment,” he reflected.
However, Forde is positive that it will be a small task for the cream of Guyana’s
young football crop.
“At this stage, a young person adjusts fairly quickly, so we’ll see, because we’re going to do everything possible to have as many players as possible playing on the venue. And I think you’re going to see a lot of adjustments and the quality of the game will certainly improve,” Forde stated.
Looking to the future, he sees the facility as a means of keeping players and coaches on their toes, in order to further enhance the quality of football being played in Guyana.
“Over the next couple of years, we now have an opportunity to really work closely with our players, keep them in contact with the coaching staff and have them develop their skills more on a quality playing surface,” he explained.
“This is just one of many projects of this nature that will be rolled out over the next couple of years across Guyana,” Forde stated, hinting at the possibility of having more astroturf facilities around the country. (Jemima Holmes)