Action starts today
By Michael Benjamin
Football buffs agitating for a women’s football league will finally have their needs addressed following the inauguration of the Female Inter-Association Football League, scheduled to get underway this evening with Lethem taking on the East Coast at the Tucville Ground starting at 16:00hrs this afternoon.
General Secretary of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF), Noel Adonis hosted a press conference yesterday morning at the GFF Section K Campbellville office and broke the news to media representatives. Six teams from sub associations across the country would vie for honours in the two weeks long tournament which will be contested on a home and away, round robin format. The contesting sub-associations are Upper Demerara FA, East Coast FA, Berbice FA, Bartica FA and the Rupununi FA.
Dubbing the tournament a significant achievement for the women’s association as well as the GFF, Adonis informed that the league had been in train for quite sometime. Quizzed on the reason for it late inauguration Adonis blamed this on a plethora of reasons citing unavailability of adequate resources among others.
He further intimated that the ruling football body (FIFA) has agreed to provide funding towards the success of the tournament. Towards this end, Adonis disclosed that the GFF would be picking up the tab for teams from the far reaching areas like Upper Demerara and Bartica among others.
Adonis further revealed that footballers of the Lethem sub association are already in Georgetown, engaged in activities in commemoration of Heritage Day. He said that the GFF has decided to arrange their games early in the tournament to minimize traveling costs. As such, following their first game against the East Coast, Lethem would return two days later, on Friday 25, to play Berbice and subsequently one week later against Linden.
The GFF General Secretary also revealed that the decision by the GFF to organize the tournament in conjunction with the ongoing league was done to give the games more prominence thus highlighting the skills of local female ball players.
In response to a question from a section of the media pertaining to the projected plans for women’s footballers, Adonis assured that these issues have been taken into consideration. He said that a technical team of GFF officials would be on the lookout for such talent. Adonis said that the GFF is already in discussions with the Diaspora in the USA for a mini international tournament between local U-20 footballers and their counterparts in the USA and Canada.
He further intimated that football administrators are planning to invite teams from Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname to take part. Adonis said that they have identified December for the staging of this tournament “The GFF also plans to organize inter-club tournaments among the various local clubs where the female footballers would get an opportunity to hone their skills,” Adonis concluded.
Meanwhile, Assistant Secretary of the Women’s Football Association (WFA), Charmaine Wade lauded the efforts of GFF administrators. She said that the impending female tournament would serve to enhance and promote the skills of local footballers while allowing selectors to identify available talent for future development.
The team winning the tournament would be awarded $125,000 while the runners up receive $75,000. The team occupying the third place wins $50,000. There will also be incentives for the Most Valuable Player, Highest Goal Scorer and the Best Goalkeeper along with a fair play award.
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