Discipline and stronger youth focus, lead areas
By Franklin Wilson
While 2008 brought with it its fair share of challenges, Berbice Football Association (BFA) President Keith O’Jeer proudly states that this year his association will be aiming for great improvement in every area, on and off the field.
And while the current prolonged rainy season has delayed the restart of on field action, the BFA is moving ahead with putting systems in place to strengthen their administrative capacity and effectiveness.
They have already begun approaching sponsors who were on board last year and others targeted to come on board as they seek more involvement of the corporate community in Berbice.
“We have leaned heavily on Banks DIH Limited in the past and so far they have been very supportive, I can’t commend them enough especially their marketing department. They have sat down with us and discussed the various plans they have and fully identified with what we are trying to achieve, giving us support in every way.”
I must also thank the Guyana Beverage Inc. for partnering with us and we look forward to solidifying this partnership to our mutual benefit.
Based on the encouragement of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) of which the BFA is an affiliate, O’Jeer disclosed that they are expanding their youth development focus since this is the way to go.
This belief is strengthened by the fact that the senior level is firmly formatted and this can take care of itself, more or less.
Contact has been made with a company whose name would not be disclosed at this time with a view to sponsoring the under 13 league, while a Canadian based Guyanese has indicated their willingness to sponsor the under 11. “Likewise we have plans to contact other companies for the other age groups, under 15’s to under 20’s.”
One of the major problems faced by the BFA and its affiliated clubs is the high cost of transportation and this is because of the vast area the body covers, all the way up from the Corentyne to Mahaicony.
“In the case of some teams, it’s cheaper to travel to Georgetown to play rather than travel to play in the Berbice area itself. So whereas sponsorship in Georgetown or Linden is based on the actual running of games, our sponsorship is heavily based on transportation cost.”
And this according to the BFA boss is one of their biggest disadvantages as far as sponsorship is concerned.
Level of play
Touching on this issue, his association has realised that players need to be more educated about the game and its laws and number one on their agenda is discipline.
“We’ve got many teams affiliated to us and would not allow discipline to wane. We are prepared to punish teams which do not measure up to the required standards and rules. So I think that our plans and objectives for 2009 are clear cut, discipline, focus on youth, building our administrative capacity and effectiveness and identifying and supporting our sponsors.”
Reflection on 2008
Looking back into last year briefly, O’Jeer noted that there was an increase in the amount of matches played overall, youth tournaments were played, not at the required frequency and the association encountered its fair share of set backs.
“But on a personal level, I would say 2008 has been successful for us in Berbice.”
The continued lack of sponsorship has been a definite area that has troubled every other association and surely has not escaped the BFA. According to O’Jeer, the lack of organisers to do the job has also been a set back for them.
These gray areas resulted in the association restructuring the way they operate with a view to having a better grip on individual and collective responsibilities.
“Before executive members were serving on a part-time basis but we realised that it requires people to do it on a semi full-time basis in order to achieve the aims and objectives we are aiming for. This I must say has proven to be difficult because it is a voluntary thing and the right people to do the job are professionals who have got limited time so we are on a catch 22 but every thing starts here (executive level), without the right group of executives you really cannot make the required progress.”
The BFA have had hiccups with certain of its executive members which has been sorted out O’Jeer disclosed and everything is now running smoothly.
2008 he continued, allowed them the opportunity to see areas of shortcomings. “It may not have been, football wise, successful but it has allowed us success in the area of identifying our faults.”
With regards to success on the field against other associations, O’Jeer was quick to point out that the on field score line does not gave a true picture of how good they have played and does not truly represent the standard of play in the Ancient County.
“But is does represent the difference in clubs being able to prepare themselves and the backings that certain clubs have in other associations, so the score line represents that clearly, not the playing ability as people tend to go for straightaway.”
The President said he is confident that a number of their players are equipped with the requisite talent to make it all the way in terms of representing Guyana.
Plans are also on the table to interact more with other affiliates of the GFF to strengthen the level of play at the inter-club level which would impact on the standard at the national level.
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