Infrastructure, partnerships critical to Guyana’s football development- McIntosh

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By Avenash Ramzan

Infrastructure and Partnerships were on Wednesday identified as two critical areas that could catapult Guyana’s development as a football nation.

That sentiment was expressed by Concacaf Project Director, Howard McIntosh, less than two weeks after Guyana secured a massage passage to the Concacaf Gold Cup by historically beating Belize 2-1 in the final leg of the Nations League.

McIntosh, currently on a two-day visit to Guyana, meeting with stakeholders of the sport to get a sense of activities and projects on the local front, interacted with media operatives during a site visit to the Guyana Football Federation’s recently-acquired plot of land at Durban Park.

“I’ve always wondered out loud (that) of all the countries in the Caribbean that shouldn’t have an issue as it relates to land is Guyana. Infrastructure is such a critical part of football development. It pleases me tremendously to come here (and) to have seen and discuss more infrastructure development in Guyana,” McIntosh told reporters.

“This type of development must lead to more returns in terms of football and in terms of sports generally. There is nothing like seeing the manifestation of those possibilities become a reality such as the performance in the Nations League, such as the performance of your girls (Lady Jags) and also of course your qualification to the Gold Cup.”

The realisation of the new complex will significantly impact grassroots development, McIntosh posited. He also touched on the importance of partnerships to help chart the course forward for the sport.

“When you have your own facilities it means you govern your own training times; it means you can have grassroots development going on on an ongoing basis. So I’m really, really, really happy to be here; really happy to see the progress and happy to see the partnership that exist now between the Football Federation and the Government of Guyana. Without that type of partnership football can truly not be successful. Partnership is the key word here now and I’m happy to see it,” McIntosh divulged.

The Durban Park Football Complex, which the Federation acquired on a 25-year lease, will house an international quality football-sized pitch, two mini pitches and a new headquarters for the Guyana Football Federation.

Last February, the government of Guyana signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Football Federation, paving the way for development of a section of the Durban Park area.

At that signing the Federation’s president Wayne Forde said the occasion “marks a huge milestone for football in Guyana and a defining moment for every young boy and girl, who dreams of playing the game at the highest level.”

He reiterated those remarks in the presence of McIntosh on Wednesday.

“We see this as an integral part of the overall development of the sport. We all know that infrastructure and facilities have been a challenge for not just football, but for many other sporting disciplines over the years. And it is very timely and in keeping with a commitment this government made and is surely delivering on that, we now have a plot of land that we will move very rapidly in developing in the next couple of years,” Forde indicated.

Director of Sport Christopher Jones, who was also part of the site visit, said the administration was pleased to contribute towards the development of the sport by providing a space to the Federation.

“And we have recognised, as all and sundry and the world over recently saw, that when you make an investment in sports you will get returns, and as such Guyana has now qualified (for the Gold Cup), especially under your presidency Mr. Forde.”

“We will continue to lend support and make land available to the various associations/federations once those lands are available for them, but of course it speaks of the capacity of the federations and associations to build on those lands once they acquire the lands,” Jones posited.

Jones later met with McIntosh and Forde at his office. McIntosh’s visit will wrap up on Thursday.

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