Digicel Schools football “a huge undertaking”- CEO
By Avenash Ramzan
Describing its annual national schools football championship “a huge undertaking”, Chief Executive Officer of Digicel Guyana, Kevin Kelly, joined members of his organising team, representatives of the telecommunication company and other key stakeholders, as well as special invitees on Thursday morning to launch the sixth annual tournament.
Played under theme, “Unite. Develop. Excel”, ever since its inception in 2011, this year’s competition, which will kick off on June 10 and conclude on July 31 at the National Stadium, was officially unveiled in the compound of the Covent Garden Secondary School, as the “Bigger, Better Network” strives to take its activities to the people.
Addressing the gathering, an animated Kelly spoke of the enormous work that is required to pull off a tournament of this magnitude, one that is designed to capture schools in all 10 administrative regions of Guyana.
Despite the massive logistical challenge of shuttling teams and officials around, Kelly reminded the audience of his company’s commitment to the tournament and the development of young people.
While he did not divulge figures, the tournament, like previous years, is bound to cost the company a huge sum, as expectation is high that there will be an increase in the number of school participating this year.
As Digicel’s Head of Marketing Jacqueline James revealed, a total of 180 schools have been invited to enter the competition, and they are looking to surpass last year’s total, which was over 160. In its first year, the championship attracted 123 schools.
Labelling the tournament as one that provides “possibilities and opportunities” for young boys in school, James pointed out that Digicel is grateful for the support of the Ministry of Sport, the Guyana Football Federation and the Guyana Football Referee Council in making their dreams become a reality.
President of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF), Wayne Forde, said that throughout “the tumultuous days of football in Guyana”, Digicel remained a constant and he is grateful for their input into football.
He stated that the Federation had fruitful discussions with the company, and through this tournament he envisages that the dynamics of the senior national team could change in years to come, as the competition is geared to unearth talents from every corner of the country.
Director of Sport, Christopher Jones, reasoned that the championship will help to stimulate economic growth and create internal tourism, something the current administration is enthused about.
He declared that the Department of Sport is proud to align itself to what he deemed “the most highly anticipated tournament in the country.”
This year, the champion school will collect $1 million to fund a project of its choice. The second to fourth placed finishers will receive $700,000, 400,000 and $350,000 respectively, which will also go to a project of their choice. The regional champions are guaranteed $100,000 each.
The boys from Christianburg Wismar Secondary School (CWSS) are the defending champions, winning the title four consecutive years.