Football partners rewarded at mega ceremony
The Guyana Football Federation’s (GFF) annual awards ceremony was reinstated on the calendar of events on Friday night when the Wayne Forde-led body went full blast in staging a special Dinner and Awards Ceremony, which was nothing short of magnificent.
The spanking new Sleep Inn Hotel and Casino on Church Street was the venue of choice, where players, coaches, referees, corporate and other partners and media professionals were recognised for their worthwhile contributions to the growth and development of the ‘beautiful game’ in Guyana.
While the bulk of the awards were for the feats achieved and contributions made in 2017, some covered a longer period.
“Tonight, we re-commission the timeless tradition of gratitude, which seems to have been forgotten for far too long. Tonight, we pause for a moment to simply say, thank you, we appreciate your service, we recognise your contributions and we value the sacrifices each of you are called to make every day for Football,” Forde told the gathering.
“My Administration’s priorities during the past two and a half years have been deliberately focused on stabilising the football fraternity, unifying the football family, rebuilding the image of the sport and, establishing a clear vision for the game. We remain ever committed to building the widest possible consensus on how the game should be developed in its entirety. We need all hands on deck,” he added.
A room filled with football aficionados were treated to a magical drumming extravaganza by Magic Fingers and the Dynamic Tassa Group, bringing together a fusion of African and Indian drumming, before soca artiste Vanilla belted out ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’ and Jada’s Consultancy danced to some popular football themed songs.
However, the focus was really on who would be rewarded on the night, and the task of announcing the winners was bestowed on renowned media personalities, Russell Lancaster and Nuriyyih Gerrard.
Sixteen corporate partners were recognised for their involvement with the sport, namely Guyana Beverages Inc., Guyana National Newspapers Limited, National Communications Network, National Sports Commission, E.C. Vieira Investments Limited, Colours Boutique, Star Party Rentals, Camex Restaurants, Banks DIH Limited, Ansa McAl Trading, Digicel, Scotiabank, Pele Alumni Corporation, Knight Rider Bus Service, Henry Chase Academy and National Milling Company.
Former national captain now coach, Gordon ‘Ultimate Warrior’ Brathwaite, received the Presidential Merit Award ‘For a life of service to football’, while the influential Jamaal Shabazz was given the Presidential Award for the most successful national team coach.
The Franklin Wilson-led East Bank Football Association was voted the GFF Association of the Year 2017, while the Rupununi Football Association copped the Most Improved Association of the Year.
In the Media category, Rawle Toney of the Guyana Chronicle won the Print Media award; Travis Seymour of NCN won for Non-Print, Avenash Ramzan of News Room won for Online coverage and Orlando Charles of Stabroek News took the Photographer of the Year accolade.
Guyana Defence Force won the Senior Club of the Year award, while Fruta Conquerors won the Junior Club of the Year and Buxton United FC copped the Fair Play Award.
The Male and Female Referees of the Year were Gladwyn Johnson and Maurees Skeete respectively, while the Male and Female Assistant Referees were Kevin Stephens and Marineika Welcome respectively.
In the segment of Coaches, Akilah Castello copped the Female award, while Bilaal Nantambu was voted the top Male coach.
The top players were Jalade Trim (Female Junior Footballer of the Year); Orville Daniels (Male Junior Footballer of the Year); Tiandi Smith (Female Senior Footballer of the Year); and Sherwyn Caeser (Male Senior Footballer of the Year).