Martin Braithwaite joins DBU-GFF collab as Goodwill Ambassador
Story and Photos by Jemima Holmes
Barcelona Football Club forward Martin Braithwaite has arrived in Guyana, the place of his father Keith Braithwaite’s birth, for his first-ever visit to the Land of Many Waters.
Braithwaite’s presence in Guyana marks the strengthening of the partnership between the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) and the Danish Football Association (DFA), which was first brought to life back in 2019.
Braithwaite will serve as the Goodwill Ambassador between the two football bodies.
“I know he is the pride of the Danish people, but I will also say today he is the pride of the Guyanese people, and we would regard him as a son of the soil,” GFF President Wayne Forde declared on Wednesday afternoon during a press briefing alongside Braithwaite at the Marriott Hotel in Kingston, Georgetown.
Referring to the DFA-GFF partnership, which saw its first Memorandum of Understanding being signed in 2019 through the efforts of UEFA Assist, Forde has said he is elated to witness its growth.
The GFF boss shared, “I’m pleased that today we are making one further step in an already progressive relationship. A few years back this was just a discussion, and here we are, making tangible steps to a relationship that will endure for many years.”
Braithwaite, who will have a packed schedule for the remainder of the week in Guyana, and is hoping his presence here would be able to inspire the country’s youths, has said, “We should push especially the youths to follow their dreams and work hard, because you don’t know who you’re talking to; it might be the next big thing, the next big footballer or entrepreneur.
“Especially coming from Guyana, I know the stories from my dad, how he used to provide as a kid to put dinner on the table. So, you just have to dream and work hard, and things will go your way,” the Danish forward went on to add.
Although he was sure from an early age about his longing to play for the Danish National Team, Braithwaite disclosed that he has been honoured to have the opportunity extended to him to play for the Golden Jaguars team years ago.
On the topic of choosing national teams, he said, “I grew up in Denmark, and I saw the Danish National Team playing, so I always saw myself playing for that team. And I remember getting the call-up to play for the Guyanese National Team. It was a proud moment; I was really proud that they even knew who I was.
“Cause it was always part of me, part of my home, my second home.”
Also visiting Guyana is the Executive Secretary of the DFA, Nikkel Bierg, who is elated at the forging of Guyana’s partnership with the Danish.
“The Danish FA wishes to express appreciation to President (Forde) and the whole Football Federation for splendid cooperation throughout the years. Even though the pandemic put the cooperation on hold, we’re very happy to kick off the second half of the cooperation,” Bierg has said.
Meanwhile, UEFA Assist’s International Relations Project Specialist Chris Milnes is another who is happy to witness the transformation of the relationship, since it epitomises the vision of UEFA Assist.
“One of the key areas in this collaboration and this project is through our support that we offer to UEFA member associations like the DBU, to develop their own programmes of our sister confederations,” Milnes expressed. “I’m delighted that you’ve come to Guyana for the first time, and I think (that), over the next couple of days, it will be fantastic for you to discover this brilliant country,” he said in turning his attention to Braithwaite.