GFF, KFC forge partnership for nationwide U-20 tournament
By Akeem Greene
The Guyana Football Federation (GFF) and the Beharry Restaurant Holdings Inc. through their Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) franchise have joined forces to produce a nationwide Under-20 tournament, coined Independence Cup.
It will be contested on a straight knock-out basis and caters for approximately 102 clubs across the nine regional member associations of the GFF. Each team will vie for one spot as the regional representative.
The association matches are from April 27 – May 20 while the National playoffs are May 31 – June 9 and eligible players must be born on or after January 1, 1999.
At the association level, should scores remain level at 90 minutes, the match goes straight to penalty kicks, while for national playoffs, extra time will be given.
GFF’s Technical Director spoke at Thursday’s launch held at KFC’s Vlissengen Road branch, where he noted this tournament presents a solid opportunity for the development of the nation’s future but also gives the technical staff a chance to scout for talents for the upcoming CONCACAF Men’s Under-23 Olympic Qualifiers in July.
More so, GFF President Wayne Forde faced criticisms from a section of the media about the rationale of not having the tournament at the Under-23 level given the Olympic qualifiers are on the horizon.
Forde indicated it is not just the prerogative of the federation in these ventures but also those of their partners.
“Up until now we did not have anything happening at the Under-20 level. The goal of the federation is to have leagues at the U-13, U-15, U-17, U-20 and the senior level, and this is one step in the direction of that goal.”
He added, “our hope at the end of this format, the KFC group along with other non-competing partners will see the outcome of the tournament and will be able to sit and partner to help us to get to a point where we can run a full fledged league with a similar play-off at the end. While it is a legitimate point that the amount of scouting we can be done at the knock-out tournament is reduced as compared to a league, if we are able to do 25% scouting, it is 25% scouting that we were not able to do one week ago”.
Meanwhile, Charissa Rampersaud, KFC Guyana Training Manager explained this is the company’s effort in helping young persons achieve their goals. It further aligns with KFC’s goal to assist young people in being well-rounded and productive members of society
First place will cop $500,000, second $300,000, third $200,000 and fourth a trophy.