Guyana Football Review Pt 2 Grassroots and Women’s Development were in focus
Jan 11, 2018 , https://www.kaieteurnewsonline...pment-were-in-focus/
Recognising the importance of football development at the grassroots level, the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) in partnership with Scotiabank Guyana had launched the historic Academy Training Centres (ATC) last February, in an effort to produce and sustain quality players in future for the national football teams.
A total of 13 ATCs were established all around the nation with the design and aim of identifying and developing the skills of the best players in Guyana that would’ve eventually feed the various national teams to be selected in the future.
The first set of 13 ATC’s established across the GFF’s nine members associations included; 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 offers at least five aged specific, professional training sessions per week for boys and girls aged 5-11, U-13 boys’ academy, U-15 boys’ academy, U-17 boys’ academy along with the under-15 and U-17 girls’ academy with each youth group catering for a maximum of 16 players at a time.
The programme which employs a total of nine (9) full time GFF Technical Development Officers and fourteen part-time Youth Development Coaches, also includes nutrition, behavior, fitness and sports psychology, and allows for regular assessment and rotation of players through 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.
President of the GFF, Wayne Forde, told Kaieteur Sport that, “I think the ATC is a game changer for Guyana’s football youth development which will benefit our football in the whole. For the first time in Guyana’s football, we are moving towards structured levels of development.” Forde noted that he is aware of the fact that better players may be outside of the weekly ATC programme and he said that no player’s position is safe and that only continued high performance can safeguard a players spot in the ATC.
Four months after the launch of the Scotiabank ATCs, the academy were already seeing some success. That success came when Guyana’s Under-15 Junior Jaguars created history when they stopped the home team, St. Martin, compliments of a Jermaine Garrett goal, to win the SOUALIGA Under-15 tournament with a 1-0 triumph in the final on Sunday June 4th 2017.
The team, coached by Bryan Joseph, featured almost exclusively players that came through the academy training centers, except forward Ronaldo Rodriques.
In August last, Guyana played their part in another historic first for football locally, that of the CONCACAF Under-17 female World Cup qualifiers which was hosted at the Leonora Track and Field facility, football pitch. Although the Guyanese didn’t win a match, identified aims of using this tournament to raise female football awareness and participation were explained beforehand and they were some promising signs with the emergence of forward 12-year-old forward Jelade Trim who was identified by the Upper Demerara ATC.
Since the beginning of the academy training centre, the local female player pool has increased, “With a few of the 13 ATCs having their full quota of 16 players in the respective girls Under-15 and Under-17 age groups”, according to Wayne Forde.
In fact, the entire the Lady Jags Under-17 squad that battled in the first round of qualifying with Barbados and Cuba were locally based and scouted by the ATCs as opposed the senior Lady Jags team, with the exception of Canada based Forward, Nailah Rowe. The young women lost 5-1 to Barbados and 8-0 to Cuba but during those games there were periods that the Guyanese dominated the game and had the opposition on the back foot, a promising feat after only being encamped together for two weeks before the qualifiers.
Before the CONCAF Under-17 World Cup qualifiers, the National Women’s Development League which concluded on Sunday March 12 placed Guyana’s female football in the limelight. The final of that competition which was played at the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) ground saw the home team, GDF, emerging victorious after a nail-biting 2-1 win over Region Nine’s Paiwomak Warriors. Another team from the Rupununi – St. Ignatius – came in third with a 3-1 win over Georgetown’s Fruta Conquerors.
World governing body of football, FIFA, had promoted the inaugural edition of the National Women’s Development League on its internationally popular social media platforms, putting women’s football in Guyana on the global stage.
The FIFA Women’s World Cup Facebook page and its Women’s World Cup Twitter account carried a gallery of images and information from finals.
Head of the GFF, Wayne Forde, had explained that, “This league has been a big step forward for the development of women’s football in Guyana, and it is a huge boost for all the players, coaches, referees, clubs and Guyana’s football to see this level of support and encouragement from FIFA.” The GFF boss had further stated that, “We can’t wait for the start of next season to build on this solid foundation as we work together to take women’s football to the next level.” (Calvin Chapman)