Apr 25, 2013 Sports
By Rawle Welch
The enormity of the task that has to be undertaken by the new President of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) Christopher Matthias is definitely not a simple one.
This piece is not meant to incessantly take apart the numerous misgivings of the previous administration, but to merely highlight how underdeveloped our football is.
Just for emphasis, Guyanese footballers have not been a part of the Digicel Kickstart Clinic for the past two years, a travesty when one considers the consistent participation of countries such as Jamaica, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname.
Since Andrew Murray Jnr impressed none other than former Liverpool and England international John Barnes, who was Head of the Coaching team, winning himself selection to attend a further clinic at Sunderland in the process, we have not been able to have another representative at those high level clinics since.
Our last attendance at the Clinic was in 2011 when Jermaine Fletcher, Troy Lewis, Mark Wronge, Jason Cromwell, Romario Welcome and McCurd Cramer travelled to Suriname for the initial 3-day sessions, but none of them managed to impose their skills sufficiently to gain selection for the elite clinic that followed in Trinidad and Tobago.
Despite our outstanding performance during the World Cup campaign where we reached our farthest in our history, the locally-based players have not been able to make a significant impact in the national setup and this is due to the lack of a comprehensive developmental programme and qualified coaches.
Apart from being saddled with the responsibility of alleviating the heavy debt burden that it adopted after assuming office, the current administration will have to somehow manufacture and implement systems that could pave the way for local players to develop to a level where they could compete for places on the national team and possibly secure contracts overseas.
With a mere two years to show the kind of progress that all stakeholders are looking for at almost every level of governance, the Matthias-led team have no choice, but to embrace the expertise of serious stakeholders.
Time is of the essence and while the promised assistance of FIFA /CONCACAF is crucial, so too are those of the Government, Ministry of Sport and the corporate community.
At every step, these parties input are critical towards stimulating growth, confidence and transparency in an institution that previously ignored those important tenets.
What the new GFF does in terms of opening the door for the wind of inclusivity to blow in will definitively determine whether or not there is a new dispensation.
Digicel, Milo (Nestle) and Scotia Bank have all supported the development of the sport at the junior level and it is now up to the new administration to augment the efforts of those entities.
We must begin the arduous journey to reposition Guyana’s football to meet the standards needed to compete, first, in the Caribbean and ultimately in the world.
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