Guyana Football Federation President Wayne Forde and Executive Committee member Dion Inniss congratulated the Guyana men’s national beach soccer team for their historic performances at the 2017 CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship, greeting the players at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport on Tuesday evening.
The team made history by winning Guyana’s first matches at a CONCACAF beach soccer tournament, including victories against Belize and Antigua & Barbuda but finished 12th overall in the 16-team tournament in the Bahamas.
“You have done Guyana exceptionally proud,” GFF President Forde told the players and technical staff at the airport. “You exceeded every expectation that we could have had as a federation and as a country. The attention that beach soccer has received over the last couple of weeks should materialise with more players showing an interest in the game, so thank you on behalf of the Executive Committee and the Guyana football fraternity.”
In an invited comment, Head Coach Abdullah Hamid said he welcomed the experience gained for the young team. “We played among a lot of big-playing teams in CONCACAF and it was a great experience for every one of the players. We could only go forward by promoting sports more in this country, start spreading sports around the country so we can have more youths involved, creating easy access so Guyana can make it to the World Cup at this level.”
The GFF believes Guyana has great potential in small-sided brands of football such as beach soccer, and expects the eye-catching performances of the national team to generate a new level of interest in the sport.
A series of spectacular performances by 21-year-old Jamal Haynes, including one of the goals of the tournament earned the Linden-based forward the Scotiabank Young Player Award.
“The feeling when I scored that goal; it was awesome,” Haynes said. “I was feeling like I was up on a higher level, knowing that it was my first time and I did such a thing at one of the biggest tournaments of my life.