Nine associations to benefit
By Zaheer Mohamed
In order to produce and sustain quality sports persons at the highest level, much attention much
be placed at the Grassroots level, where it all starts. It is also of paramount importance to have a well structured programme in place for any institution to bear fruits.
Cognisant of the aforementioned, the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) in partnership with Scotiabank yesterday launched their historic Academy Training Centres (ATC) at the Umana Yana, Kingston.
The programme is designed to identify and develop the skills of the best players from across country from which the various national teams will be selected. It is expected to put Guyana on the forefront of youth development in the Caribbean.
The first set of 13 ATC’s will be established across the GFF’s nine members associations; Bartica (1), Berbice (2), East Bank Demerara (1), East Coast Demerara (1), West Demerara (1), Essequibo (1), Georgetown (1), Rupununi (4) and Upper Demerara (1).
The ATC’s will offer at least five aged specific, professional training sessions per week for boys and girls aged 5-11, U13 boys’ academy, U15 boys’ academy, U17 boys’ academy and U17 girls’ academy with each youth group catering for a maximum of 16 players at a time.
The programme which also includes nutrition, behavior, fitness and sports psychology, will allow for regular assessment and rotation of players though new intake. The vision of the academy includes giving more youth players the opportunity to develop their skills, increase the talent pool from which the national youth teams will be selected, create a clear pathway for players progression and improve playing standards.
Nine full time GFF Technical Development Officers and fourteen part-time Youth Development Coaches will be in charge in each of the GFF nine member associations. They will be tasked with scouting for new talent, coaching young players and improving the talent pool for national team selection, working with members associations to support programmes and youth competitions and recruiting coaches and referees in their region.
Speaking at the launching ceremony, President of the GFF Wayne Forde said the launch of this programme is yet another compelling example of how things have changed for the better in just one year.
”In our humble expectation, Guyana can finally bear witness to an executive committee that is fully focused on developing football by implementing the necessary reforms that will change the way the game is run locally,” he posited.
”The nationwide GFF Scotiabank academy training centres will play a major part our plan to transform football in Guyana. This is a special moment for us all after months of preparation,” he noted. Forde thanked Technical Director Ian Green and his team for their efforts and commitment to delivering real positive change. He also expressed gratitude to Scotiabank stating that they are honoured to be working with the entity for the development of the sport.
“It’s important to the GFF as we restore creditably and stability that we have the support of highly respected international brand such as Scotiabank which speaks volumes of the direction we are moving the sport in. We look forward to a long and fruitful partnership as we work hand in hand for the growth of the sport,” he said.
The GFF head pointed out that this groundbreaking declaration is a true game changer for the sport whereas a professional network of GFF-Scotiabank Academy Training Centres will operate alongside our Member Associations to develop the game in a coordinated way. He stated that with this programme, the GFF is putting the nation in the vanguard of youth football development in the Caribbean – where it belongs.
Forde urged the new Technical Development Officers and Youth Development Coaches to embrace their new roles with passion and commitment. “You each have an exciting journey ahead of you as you help us deliver this programme. We know the boys and girls in your respective regions, who share your passion for football, will thrive and grow under your guidance. It is an exciting time for football and it starts with you – inspiring our young people to achieve their dreams” he explained.
Forde noted that this heavy focus on youth development is the kind of strategy that has produced the best teams and players in the most successful Football nations across the globe.
He commended the member associations for their hard work over the years which have laid the foundation for the future. “Talent that has arguably been neglected for far too long has been accessed through support from the Ministry for Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs. I am pleased to say that four of our 13 youth academy centres will focus on Hinterland communities. As you know, three boys from these communities recently made the final cut for the recent U-15 internationals,” he informed.
”Football belongs to everybody in Guyana and that diversity enriches us all. We are grateful for the faith that the private sector, the Government and our Member Associations have shown in us as we reform football from top to bottom,” Forde related. He thanked FIFA and CONCACAF for their support.
Marketing Manager of Scotiabank Jennifer Cipriani said Scotiabank enjoys giving back to the community through sponsorships and their community programme. “Recently we have extended our sponsorship focus through our partnerships with COCCACAF and the CFU tournament. Our GFF partnership is therefore a natural alignment with our regional sponsorship strategy,” she lamented.
She further stated that through the Academy they hope to give boys and girls the opportunity to realise their dream of a career in football and build a national team that will be a force to reckon with. She stated that they want the youths to focus on education which is why they have committed a sum of $600,000 towards bursary awards. She thanked the GFF for the opportunity to partner with the programme.
The Technical Development Officers and Youth Development Coaches will undergo a two-day induction and training courses on the 10th and 11th of February. This will complement the technical training conducted in December 2016. Scotiabank, GFF and FIFA are providing financial support for the programme.
Also present at yesterday’s launch were Director of Sport Christopher Jones and Chairman of the National Sports Commission (NSC) Ivan Persaud who complimented both the GFF and Scotiabank on their partnership which will set the foundation for the game to take off in Guyana.
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