By Franklin Wilson
According to President of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) Wayne Forde, plans are moving ahead nicely with regards to a proposed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the custodians of the Ann’s Grove Community Centre Ground, East Coast Demerara and the GFF that would give the Federation certain rights to invest some $10M dollars to upgrade the facility into a female friendly arena.
This much was disclosed by Forde when he welcomed the new Minister of Sport, Honourable Charles Ramson Jr. to the GFF National Training Facility, recently for his inaugural visit.
Adequate facilities are one of the main challenges faced by the various sports disciplines and football is no different. However, the Federation has been moving swiftly with the construction of Guyana’s first National Training Centre at Providence which will soon enter the second phase of construction.
And while works are moving apace at Providence, the GFF is also eyeing the development of other facilities around the country to advance the development of players, both male and female, according to Forde.
”Women’s football is one of the key strategic objectives of the GFF and that venue, while all football would be played would be fashioned to accommodate women’s football. So we will ensure the investment covers washrooms, dressing rooms and we’re hoping, out of that ten million dollars we can put in some lights as well; there is works on the surface that is part of that agenda.
We want to give more young women access to the game by creating a wholesome environment at venues across the country. This I believe will encourage parents to look upon Women’s football more favorably and hopefully feel safer about their daughters’ participation.”
Ann’s Grove Community Centre ground is one of the more spacious facilities on the East Coast with the East Demerara Football Association (EDFA) using it as one of its main hubs for the playing of matches at every level.
Forde stated that as a follow up to the National Training Centre visit, the GFF would be sitting down with Minister Ramson to update him more on their plans to advance infrastructure development, among other areas.
”We’re confident that if there’s an opportunity where the government of Guyana can contribute they’ll do so.”
It was also disclosed that the GFF, back in 2019 signed a 30-year lease with the Mayor and Town Council of New Amsterdam for 5.4acres of land at Vryman’s Erven, New Amsterdam.
This facility would also attract an investment of $10M from the GFF. “These are the two venues that are immediately on our agenda,” Forde posited.
Durban Park to be GFF’s marquee international venue
Forde also shared that the 7.4 acres of land acquired at Durban Park under the previous administration would see Guyana’s premier football pitch being developed there.
”We’re getting support from our counterparts in Denmark to do the engineering services and in a few weeks you will actually see works started on the clearing of the ground.”
Part of the MoU for this facility states that government must be engaged and have an opportunity to see the design. Another key component of the agreement is that the community must have access to the facility.
”So we plan to put as many mini pitches as possible, we have a conceptual layout already. There’re a lot of football people adjoining that location and they will have access to those mini pitches; they’ll be artificial turf because of the wear and tear we expect it to have.”
Forde said he is already envisioning small community tournaments.
”I must say that the pace at which the GFF in partnership with FIFA can advance its infrastructure projects is based on the speed at which we can foster relationships with the NDCs, the other agencies and the Government of Guyana to ensure that we have the legal rights to make those investments.”
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