The Guyana Football Federation (GFF) will be surrounded by the prestige of over 50 Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF); Caribbean Football Union (CFU) and Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) officials as they take up the mantle of hosting the FIFA Development Conference.
The two-day event was officially opened on Tuesday morning at the Marriott Hotel in Kingston, Georgetown in the presence of Social Cohesion Minister with responsibility for sport, Dr George Norton, and got underway immediately after.
The Conference will see the delegates from the Caribbean and the wider world discussing how the beloved sport can be further developed. A large portion of the Conference will surround educating the Member Association representatives on how to go about planning and executing successful projects.
In his welcoming remarks, GFF President Wayne Forde expressed the need for a productive two days.
“I just want to wish us all a productive and positive couple of days of deliberation. I know that for my colleagues, the Presidents of various Football Member Associations, there’re more football experts outside of your federation than yourself and it’s something that we’ve become used to. Unfortunately, the task falls to us to make the decisions that will change the game and improve the livelihood of the players under our care,” Forde stated.
Citing Guyana’s slow but steady improvements in the football arena such as their CONCACAF Gold Cup qualification, Dr Norton praised FIFA for selecting Guyana as their destination, noting that it was the perfect place for development.
“I am most pleased with FIFA’s decision to host this Conference on development here in Guyana. Football is a beloved national sport and over the years, it has seen much progress here in Guyana with the assistance of FIFA and the dedication of local organisations and players. FIFA’s decision to host this Conference on these shores is a clear indication of its confidence in this land of many waters,” the Minister said.
Dr Norton went on to reference the recently-commissioned FIFA Forward project pitch at Providence and construction of other state-of-the-art sporting facilities to make the point that player development needed to start at a young age. In the same breath, the Minister disclosed that he looked forward to stronger ties with FIFA.
“We have recognised the need to start preparing our young players from an early age. As such, your decision to focus this Conference on the implementation of a comprehensive regional schools’ football programme is most timely and very much welcomed,” he said.
After presenting the Minister with a token from FIFA, Member Associations and Development Director Veron Mosgengo-Omba shed some light on the purpose of the Conference while highlighting the importance of continued development.
“We all know that development means the future, the FIFA Development programme Forward is essential for the future of our game. One of the main ingredients in development is a project, so how to turn our dreams into reality are projects. The agenda of this Conference will address all of this, it will be focused … that will allow us to better plan and manage projects,” Mosgengo-Omba revealed.
Tuesday’s agenda included multiple project planning management sessions, discussions on the social dimensions of football and how the game can foster local development and youth empowerment.
With the focus on football in schools, the FIFA Conference will be graced by the presence of Education Minister Nicolette Henry today.
Also on the agenda, for the final day of the Conference is the presentation of development projects by the Guyanese contingent which are expected to include the proposition of a regional schools’ football tournament for the Caribbean nations. Additionally, the delegates will conclude their project planning management sessions.