The FIFA’s Regional Development Officer, Howard Mc Intosh, concluded a successful three-day visit to Guyana after being involved in multiple meetings with key stakeholders across the country including Lethem and Georgetown.
The visit, which began on Sunday, June 19th, saw Mc Intosh witnessing the finals of the Stag Elite League Finale at the National Track and Field Facility, Leonora. He also visited Lethem, Region 9, where he met several stakeholders and opened the GFF-NAMILCO Thunderbolt Flour Power National Under-17 League. He was accompanied by the President of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF), Wayne Forde. In brief remarks at the opening of the Rupununi Football Association’s (RFA) leg of the GFF-NAMILCO Thunderbolt Flour Power National Under-17 Tournament on the Monday, June 20, Mc Intosh said “the Rupununi is a gold mine of talent that must be harnessed with urgency.” He expressed his appreciation to the RFA for the grand welcome extended, which included being serenaded by groups of participants displaying multiple welcome signs then garlanded by traditional ornament.
GFF President Wayne Forde, noted the importance of the hinterland to the national development of football and committed to the development of football in the regions. “Without the strategic involvement of the hinterland communities, Guyana’s national football programme will continue to labour wastefully and therefore without the support of the GFF and, more importantly the Government of Guyana, the hinterland football programme will be unable to achieve its human development goals and deliver on its patriotic contribution to national life and the advancement and aspirations of its players.”
He concluded his address by appealing to all stakeholders to partner with the RFA in the interest of the development of the sport of football; “We all have a moral obligation to our young people and we must honour that obligation. They are not only the seeds of our future but rather the harvest of our present and we must cultivate them wisely.”
Among the key stakeholders met during the one-day visit to Lethem on Monday were personnel from the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI) and Republic Bank respectively; teachers and students from the St. Ignatius Secondary School and the Executive of the Rupununi Football Association (RFA). During these meetings, development initiatives and integration strategies for hinterland teams into the national programme were discussed as well as general football development in the region.
On Tuesday June 21st, Mc Intosh and Forde met with representatives from the Ministry of Education and the Department of Sports respectively to discuss the implementation of a national schools’ football programme and access to land for building football pitches across Guyana. Present at that meeting were the Ministry of Education’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Olato Sam and the Director of Sport, Christopher Jones.
Additionally, the team held a meeting with the CEO and representative of NAMILCO to discuss the development structure of the National U-17 tournament. Mc Intosh departed Guyana on Wednesday.