Nine Associations to contest internally
By Franklin Wilson
The historical Guyana Football Federation (GFF) / National Milling Company of Guyana (NAMILCO) Thunderbolt Flour Power National Under-17 League sponsored to the value of SIX MILLION Dollars was yesterday officially unveiled in the Sylvester Hall of the North Ruimveldt Multilateral School, Mandela Avenue.
Aimed at empowering youth players to exhibit their skills in a developmental setting with the aim of impacting at the national level, the nine (9) affiliated associations of the GFF will be kicking off their respective legs of the league on May 7th next.
The GFF’s Elite League Clubs will also be competing in this history making tournament under the respective umbrella associations from which they have been birthed.
Sharing the head table at yesterday’s event were Director of Sports Mr. Christopher Jones who delivered the feature address on behalf of the Hon. Minister of Education – Dr. Rupert Roopnarine; NAMILCO’s Financial Controller and Assistant to the Managing Director Messer’s Fitzroy McLeod and Autamaram Lakeram; GFF President, First and Third Vice President’s Mr. Wayne Forde, Mr. Jullian Lovell and Ms. Thandi Mc Allister and MC Mr. Affeeze Khan.
Jones in his remarks complimented the GFF for the vision it has shown in pulling together a tournament of such magnitude that will impact positively, the growth and development of the sport with youths being the primary focus.
He said that very often when the Sports Ministry is approached for help by associations and federations they would often ask of them, what are their strategic development plans and they would eventually lose out for lack thereof.
However, the GFF was complimented for the proactive role they have shown in this regard with this tournament that will run until next year; played over several rounds in the respective associations.
Jones also complimented NAMILCO for committing and investing its finances towards the tournament whilst making a clarion call to corporate Guyana to lend support for the development of sports across the board.
“The development of a nation’s youth is a development that all should take on board,” Jones noted. He also threw out a challenge to the GFF and the National Association for Women’s Football to ensure that a female tournament becomes realty soonest, pointing out that funds in this regard is available since the NSC would have approached the Ministry of Finance through its Budget since last year for funds to be had in this area and it has been approved.
Funds for Differently Able athletes are also available the Director informed. The others associations were also challenged to take the GFF’s template to develop their strategic development plan, short and long term for sports.
“Rest assured the Ministry of Education, Department of Culture Youth and Sport is there, committed to lend support in whatever way possible.”
McLeod in his remarks told the gathering which also included President’s and other executive members of the GFF’s affiliates that he considers himself a staunch follower of the sport, pointing out that he knows Guyana has the talent pool to be a tougher force to reckon with at the regional and international levels but it is a matter of creating the right platform (coaching, officiating, player development) for the talent to come to fruition.
McLeod reiterated his company’s commitment towards the tournament, noting that they have been in business for the past 47 years and have been consistently supporting sports development in Guyana, not just in football but also in cycling, track and field, swimming, cricket as well as educational institutions including the University of Guyana.
He also noted that the company was pleased to align its quality products with this tournament and expects that as the competition progresses; standards would be set and maintained in terms of conduct and sportsmanship.
Forde in giving an overview of the tournament informed that the best youths during the course of the competition would be registered in the association Academy Training Centers (ATC) for further special attention as the federation embarks on a new path to holistic and consistent development which will also target the educational growth of the players if the need arise.
The GFF head said that it is the aim of the federation to win the upcoming Caribbean Football Union (CFU) U-17 competition which Guyana has entered.
This competition will compliment the ATC which forms part of the GENERATION NEXT Programme that was developed by the former Technical Director, Claude Bolton. The tournament objectives includes: providing the clubs and association with an opportunity to engage their young players in competitive football throughout the year; creating a common and consistent coaching platform that focuses on technique and patterns of play at the early stages of a player’s development; providing coaches with an opportunity to improve their craft whilst gaining valuable on-field experiences and knowledge in teaching the fundamentals of the game to young players.
The respective associations are now going through the registration process as they get ready for kick off on May 7th, next.
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