With the Senior National Team set to depart this weekend for a historical Train/Play Camp in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, Technical Director of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) Ian Greenwood believes that this investment is what is needed to compliment the development of the local players.
Many of the young and talented ball weavers would be given the opportunity to showcase what they have and put the new Head Coach Michael Johnson and Technical Staff on notice that they have what it takes to aid in the GFF’s quest to firstly qualify for the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2019 and then the FIFA World Cup in 2026 which would be hosted by the USA, Canada and Mexico.
Greenwood believes that the Brazil sojourn is massively important since it will open the eyes of the players as to what can be achieved as they would have firsthand experience to what the real standards are and where the game can take them across the world as well as what it can do for them and their families.
“The first eighteen months of my tenure is really focused on the younger players because if we just start at the senior level we wouldn’t have a conveyor belt of players coming through, so we have to invest a lot of time and energy in the younger age groups. We have our U20 programme in November which is the link between the NAMILCO U17s and the seniors.”
Greenwood believes that the GFF is now getting to a level where they will have a constant flow of quality players produced in Guyana that will feed into the senior team with the various age group tournaments feeding into each other and being complimented by those players that would come from the Diaspora.
“As President Forde said, this Brazil experience will be a regular feature for our teams; it’s not just going to be a senior team to Brazil. We’re looking at the U13s, 15s, 17s, female programmes as well and really tapping into the Brazilian side. So it’s going to be a real avenue of how we can develop our players at first class facilities.”
Academy Training Centers &Intra Association Tournaments playing a huge part in development
Greenwood also took some time to highlight the importance of the Academy Training Centers and Intra Association tournaments in the entire scheme of development noting that the NAMILCO U-17 and Pele/Frank Watson U15 leagues are vital.
“We’re going to launch the U13 and U20 leagues as well and this is where our player pool comes from. So the developing players at the academies allow us to extract the best players in each of the regions of Guyana where previously, you may look at a national youth team and it may be more heavily Coastal or Georgetown. But now that we have full time officers in each of the regions it allows us to produce players at a much earlier age.”
Greenwood posited that the fundamentals need to be taught to players at a very early age like U11s, 13s and 15s noting that this focus would be a huge one aimed at developing the fundamentals of our players.
GFF President Wayne Fords noted that the fruits of the Academy Training Centers are currently on display at the CFU Boys’ U14 Challenge Series being played in Curacao.
“So, that consistency is paying dividends, there is so much more that we have to do with the academy training centers, the TD would be putting together a programme on some of the added investments we need to make.
It’s really a challenge for the federation, a lot of this we are doing on our own, the support is not exactly what we hoped it would be but we are patient and taking our time. Once the Government and corporate sees the evidence and recognize we are serious about what we are doing they will come on board, we always have to be optimistic about that.”
Forde also stated that the structure and consistency of the academies is a huge fillip towards the overall vision of development.
“One of the other things that we are going to being doing soon is that we are developing a strategy where the associations would be playing a greater role in the academy in terms of ensuring that the players are attending; more or less, monitoring the academies since it is really the association academy. The federation is funding it, we put a staff there but it is the West Dem., East Bank and Linden academy.”
Forde concluded that the process would be a slow, painful and methodical one but we all have to be patient.
“The kind of change that is required to turn eth tide on Guyana’s football is not going to come overnight.”
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