National U16 players enjoying ‘unique’ opportunity
While geared at boosting the skills of the country’s youngest players, the Tiger Rentals Under-13 Boys’ Developmental League has been designed with something in store for their older counterparts.
As the League kicked off at the Guyana Football Federation’s (GFF’s) National Training Center (NTC) at Providence two Saturdays ago, the country’s national Under- 16 players got in on some of the football action, but in an unconventional way.
Instead of utilising the regular referees, the national Under-16 team has been trained to officiate the games in which the younger ballers will compete over the next few weeks.
Shakem Welcome, Captain of the U16 national team, in a chat with Guyana Times Sport, shared that he and teammates are enjoying the new experience.
“It’s a very exciting opportunity for us. You know, a new experience seeing the referees’ views on how they officiate games,” Welcome has said.
The youngster went on to explain that being on the other side of the game would not only help with their perspective of calls, but will also provide them with additional knowledge of the sport.
Welcome explained, “Well, this will help with our knowledge of the game: when we approach the referee, how to approach the refer, if to approach him calm or aggressive, due to the calls that he makes. It just changes our knowledge.
“The knowledge we gain from this is like how to dive into fouls. If we go aggressive, if we go soft, we know not to go into the referee. Basically, helping us to better our performance,” the Under-16 captain went on to add.
Shifting focus to the Boys’ Developmental Tournament itself, Welcome praised the nature of the tournament, while expressing elation at being able to serve the sport in some way.
“This helps for me to give back to the sport, after what I gain from it. I know I never had this opportunity, but for them. It’s just a great development tournament for them as youths, and hopefully, it helps them in the future,” Welcome told this publication.
The U13 Boys’ Developmental League has received $10M from title sponsors Tiger Rentals Inc, and this will see games being played between regional teams and clubs. The tournament continues this Saturday at the GFF’s NTC at Providence, East Bank Demerara.