The Guyana Football Federation last Friday afternoon held an appreciation reception to recognize the efforts of the National Under-17 and 20 Women’s Teams, as well as the National Under-15 Boys Team at their Dadanawa Street, Section ‘K’ Campbellville Headquarters.
The respective teams had represented the nation well in three Concacaf Qualifying tournaments.
The Under-20’s swept the Concacaf Women’s Under-20 Championship in Group A that was hosted here by defeating Saint Lucia, Suriname, Bahamas and Antigua and Barbuda.
The Under-17s won the Concacaf Women’s Under-17 Qualifying Championship in Group ‘D’ played in Curacao when they defeated the host, St. Vincent & the Grenadines and Bahamas and qualified for the Concacaf Women’s Under-17 Championship scheduled to be played from
March 21 to April 5th, 2020.
In the Concacaf Boys’ Under-15 Championship 2019 played in Florida, Guyana, after losing to
Nicaragua 3-0 in their first match, went on to win against Bahamas, Cayman Islands and ended with a 1-1 draw against French Guiana.
In feature remarks, Minister of Social Cohesion with responsibility for Culture, Youth and Sport,
Hon. Dr. George Norton said that he was proud to be able to celebrate the players for their wonderful achievements and accomplishments.
Pointing out that football is the most popular sport in the world with over three billion fans,
Minister Norton told the players, “We are sincerely proud of each of you and the way you have performed outside these shores as true ambassadors of Guyana.”
Norton said that he was quite excited when the U-20 Lady Jags managed to create history by remaining undefeated during the group stage of the Concacaf Under-20 championships in July last.
He also expressed delight with the U15s performance and, most recently, that of the U-17 Girls:
“As the minister responsible for sport, I am truly impressed by each of you and I am further motivated to continue my fight, my struggle, my support to develop and upgrade our country’s sports infrastructure. I’m also quite satisfied by the fact that our national football teams have been attracting increased participation from youths and particularly from the hinterland regions.”
Reflecting on a recent tournament held in Kamana Region 8, Minister Norton said he is truly convinced that football is going forward and is in the right hands and the right persons are associated with the sport: “At those games, there was the participation of FIFA and there was a banner which said, ‘living football.’ The FIFA representative at those games and I want to congratulate the GFF for having FIFA so intimately involved at that level and in those areas.’’
He further added that looking at the situation in Kamana, he saw exactly what it is to be living football.
Norton said that he is looking forward to the players helping to make the game popular here in
Guyana and take their rightful places in the fraternity. He encouraged the players to remain focused: “I want to end by saying that Guyana salutes you and we wish you every success as you continue your journey to all that is good.”
President Wayne Forde in congratulating his players and staff said that it takes years of deliberate work to reap rewards, citing that the women’s achievement is nothing short of being historic; winning both the Under-20 and Under-17 Concacaf Qualifying Groups undefeated.
He noted that they are still far away from where they would like to be: “The youth development programme that was launched way back in early 2016 is still being adjusted from every single corner. We believe that we are on the right path; we now have the evidence to support, we have the indicators that are clear, and we are on the right path. How do we sustain this and how do we repeat it over the next couple of years is going to be the greatest challenge for us.”
The GFF boss encouraged the young players to see their achievements as motivation towards accomplishing even greater things: “Could you understand or even think for a second what it would mean for Guyana when you guys qualify for the FIFA Under-17 World Cup? Is there anyone here who doubts that you would qualify for the FIFA Under-17 World Cup? I don’t think so. So we have to keep knocking down goal after goal.”
The president informed that he would have received numerous warm phones calls from his colleagues around the region and he stated that Guyana is being taken seriously within the CFU as a football nation.
“As a Federation we require a lot more investment from corporate Guyana to really realise the true potential of the nation. I want to thank the government of Guyana for all the support that they have given to us; there isn’t an occasion that I’ve called on Minister Norton and he hasn’t come true.”
GFF’s Technical Director, Ian Greenwood, told the youths and coaching staff that they have done a fantastic job for the nation and themselves, pointing out that what was achieved by the two women’s teams is unprecedented. “This has come from hard work from yourselves, from your coaching staff, from your clubs and schools.”
The TD noted the boy’s Under-15 team has been together for some time now and the hard work that they have been putting in is paying rewards now.
The votes of thanks were delivered by Lady Jaguar Jalade Trim, who presented a short overview of their sojourn in Curacao, and Junior Jaguar Rajan Ramdeholl respectively.
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