FIFA partners with GFF to outfit 20 indigenous teams

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With the aim of enhancing the level of play on and off the field among indigenous teams, world governing body for football, FIFA, recently partnered with the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) to outfit 20 teams.

Those benefitting are currently participating in the annual North Pakaraimas Football Tournament being played at the Kamana Blue Lions Sports Ground in the village of Kamana, Region Eight.

This all became reality following a visit to the region by Véron Mosengo-Omba, Director of Member Associations and Development for Africa and the Caribbean in 2018. He experienced first-hand what it takes for teams to travel to and fro and their love for the game.

Following discussion with GFF President, Wayne Forde, following his traversing of the terrain and interaction with the people, Mosengo-Omba’s subsequent report to FIFA resulted in uniforms and other equipment being made available to the 20 teams.

Also part of the package was an Introductory Coaches Course as well as Referees Training. FIFA Coaching Instructor, Lenny Lake, who made the trip to Kamana, presented the equipment to the teams and was the facilitator for the Coaches training.

He expressed awe in experiencing that part of Guyana noting that the players and people have an unrivaled passion for the game. The experienced Coach and former St. Kitts and Nevis national player also said that he was knocked off of his feet in seeing the beauty of another part of Guyana, which he never knew existed.

“FIFA is very pleased to be able to contribute to the support and sustenance of these teams in the interior of Guyana. It is truly amazing to see their level of commitment and passion for the game, traveling days to play, travelling with their babies and camping out for so many days just to play is an amazing experience for me and I can assure you that FIFA is more than happy to be a part of this tremendous journey.”

Lake commended the GFF and the Government of Guyana for their continued partnership which allows for the players to be able to practice their trade even with so many challenges, including travelling.

“The donation of gear and other equipment will serve to encourage these players and teams and assure them that they too are important in the world of football and I am sure that many of these players will one day break into the national ranks, with sustained support of course, and even go on to get contracts out of Guyana. They are strong and disciplined and it is important for us to continue supporting them.”

President Forde commented: “The GFF continues to provide the hinterland communities with technical and material support. We are seeing significant improvement in the quality of the young footballers emerging from the various regions, in fact, hinterland players are featured in almost all of our youth National teams. The love and passion for football among the hinterland peoples is unrivaled across the entire stretch of our 83,000 square miles.”

Lake also offered a comment on his experience of travelling to Region Eight: “Wow! You hear about it and you hear the stories and read about it but to actually live it, it’s unbelievable. Unbelievable in the sense that you saw persons who are living in a different world or what we say, in a different way and you recognise that even though they are living in a different way and they have their challenges; they appear to be happy and enjoy the company of each other.”

He added, “But what strikes me most is their passion for football and that is quite surprising because, most of the times you see football, you see football in a structured way with big clubs or associations, but these of Kamana and all these other communities around, even though they might not have that structure, have the passion, the pride to come out and play the game and play like they are competing for a World Cup. The attendance and atmosphere is unbelievable that something like this could be happening almost in a remote area and so many persons may not know that this is happening but it just thrills you and overwhelming to see what happens in the interior of Guyana.”

Representing Hounorable Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples Affairs, Hon. Valerie Garrido-Lowe, at the presentation was the Minister’s Personal Assistant, Orlando Shuman, while Deputy Regional Executive Officer, Gavin Gounga, was also present.

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