Guyana Football Review Pt. 3 The GFF Elite League and Super 16 yearend tournament
Jan 13, 2018 , https://www.kaieteurnewsonline...-yearend-tournament/
The Guyana Football Federation’s (GFF) Elite league third season kicked off on Sunday November 19, 2017 at the Leonora Track and Field facility, football pitch with a double header.
This late start by two months from the league’s original September scheduled kick off was explained by President of the GFF, Wayne Forde, who said the reason for the delay of the league which is being funded exclusively by the local governing body: “We (GFF) were working with FIFA to finalise a proposal that would’ve seen them (FIFA) fund the league.”
The GFF boss in an interview with this publication further stated that his organisation in seasons one and two of the Elite league funded 85% of the 50-60 million dollars event that runs for a projected nine months from September to May. This funding, Forde explained, was coming from the GFF’s operational and developmental funds that placed the federation’s accounts in a deficit, so it was important that the deal to have FIFA fund the league finalised.
The deal that the GFF made with FIFA will see the world governing football body funding the Elite League for three (3) seasons starting with this current season. Forde posited that he and the current GFF executive committee are, “Hopeful that after the three-year support from FIFA that Guyana’s Elite League will become attractive enough to sustain itself with a broader cross section of sponsors and also the return of fans that will help generate revenue from entry fees.”
Forde shared the fact that it is hard to run a sustainable model of professional football within the Caribbean Football Union without any support and he explained that the Jamaican and Trinidad and Tobago Football Federations receive much support from their governments.
In fact, Forde highlighted the TT$80,000 which each pro-club in the Twin Island Republic receives to help with overhead costs, since the T&T government sees sports as a way and means of curbing crime and keeping youths off the streets.
At the moment, the GFF league is on a break and managers are busy in this January transfer market seeking to bolster their respective squads. After two completed rounds in season three of the Elite League, newly promoted club, Den Amstel is top of the table with two wins, slightly ahead of Victoria Kings and Fruta Conquerors that have also won both their games – on goal difference.
When the competition resumes on Friday, February 2nd, newly promoted clubs, Milerock, New Amsterdam United, Ann’s Grove and Cougars which have lost both their respective matches, will be hoping to get some points on the board and escape relegation.
The GFF in a statement noted that the League is not an expense but an investment and this is a major fact for Guyana’s football to develop.
Super 16 yearend tournament
The inaugural GFF Super16 year end Knockout tournament in 2017 that concluded on New Year’s Day was a success with a fitting final between “giant slayers” Grove Hi Tech and Elite League champions, Guyana Defence Force (GDF).
The tournament that featured all ten Elite League teams and five of the best association teams in the nation along with an Indigenous All-Star XI, was divided into two groups of eight teams with the winner of each group contesting the final.
Grove Hi Tech emerged from the more difficult of the two groups, easing past the likes of Western Tigers, fighting for a 10-man come from behind victory against nemesis Police FC and brushing aside Fruta Conquerors on their way to the final. Grove was led by stellar performances from national players Kelsey Benjamin and Curtez Kellman, while Denzil Crawford was one of the best wide players in the entire tournament.
Meanwhile, the army men steamrolled Milerock 4-1, edged Winners’ Connection 3-2 after penalties and needled Pouderoyen 1-0 on their way to the final with the entire team playing well collectively.
Hi Tech were no strangers to success in year-end football tournaments after copping the Stag Inter Association knockout tournaments on January 1st 2015 and 2016 and the East Bank Football Association top club was already being labeled as giant slayers after their super run in Super 16.
However, the Guyana Defence Force silenced all doubts and laid the promising and tired Grove Hi Tech team to rest with a 2-0 victory in the final at Leonora. The first half of that final on January 1, 2018 was electric with many excellent opportunities to go ahead being created by both teams but the finishing touch was missing.
Heading into the dugout at the first half, the game was poised to be evenly matched but as Grove began to tire coupled with a silly red card in the second half, the seemingly tireless GDF slotted home two unanswered goals behind the excellent Lloyd Mathews (in goal for Grove) to seal the win.
The Elite League champions won $2million for their triumph while Grove Hi Tech was awarded a much deserved $1million for their super performance in the knockout competition. This tournament was organised by the GFF as opposed to the past when the body relied almost exclusively on third parties or promoters to run events/games, including International Friendlies. “It’s important that the federation develop the capacity to run our tournament, leagues and international games from within but we will still use the expertise of our partners and stakeholders when necessary for the overall success of our initiatives”, head of the GFF, Wayne Forde explained to Kaieteur Sport. (Calvin Chapman)