GFF, Concacaf host inaugural Next Play Coaches Workshop

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The Guyana Football Federation (GFF) continues to break new ground as it seeks, with the assistance of Concacaf to set a solid foundation for the sport from the grassroots level upwards.

To this end, the GFF and Concacaf have collaborated to host a two-day Coaches Workshop, which commenced Tuesday at the Guyana National Stadium, Providence, which is being held under the Concacaf Next Play Coaches initiative.

This Pilot Project involves 10 Primary Schools drawn from across Guyana, specifically Regions Three, Four, Five, Six and 10.

Each school will have 10 students participating. At a simple opening ceremony on Tuesday morning, the Facilitators of the Workshop, Concacaf Coach Educators, Andre Virtue and Nigel Linton, along with GFF President, Wayne Forde, and Technical Director Ian Greenwood complimented the teachers participating for being a part of a historical journey which can redound to greatness.

President Forde, in feature remarks before declaring the workshop open, welcomed the participants and facilitators whilst expressing gratitude to Concacaf President, Victor Montagliani, whose vision saw the birthing of the Next Play initiative as well as many other development programmes that have been rolled out across the region and confederation.

“In everything we do there is usually a beginning, a middle and an end. I think this is the beginning of what I believe and trust will be an exciting football development and human development initiative over the next couple of years in Guyana.”

Forde noted that the interesting part is when, “We get to that middle where the implementation has to take root and unless we bring a level of belief, commitment and dedication, not only to football, but to the young boys and girls that we would come into contact with over the next couple of weeks, months and years, we will not be able to overcome the inevitable challenges that comes with implementing anything.”

Participants going through their paces during an outdoor session

President Forde, who has been charting a new and solid way forward for the sport in every sphere for the past four years, alluded to the fact that football development is by no means, straightforward.

“It is very difficult, it’s not for the faint of heart, it is best suited for those who are willing to get into the trenches and do the difficult work when no one is looking. Not quite often we get the kind of positive encouragement and recognition for the difficult work that goes into developing football, as a matter of fact, it’s a rarity, particularly in our country. But when you believe that you are putting your heart, your effort and your time into something that can impact, even in the smallest possible way, the life of a boy or girl, then that should be a just reward.”

The teachers were encouraged not to do the Workshop in return for moments of glory which will be few and far in between, but rather do it for the real reason which is to impact the lives of our young boys and girls.

Concacaf Coach Educator, Mr. Andre Virtue, who is visiting Guyana for the first time, said he is looking forward to the programme reminding that the beautiful game provides an opportunity and can be used to address social issues.

He further stated that it is not about winning games but it’s about creating winners on and off the field.

“I think it’s our perspective that might need to change as it relates to the impact that football can have in the life of the boys and girls that we will engage and hopefully it will be something that both the GFF and Concacaf and other stakeholders would see the need to invest a little bit more in youth development.”

Virtue cited the fact that such investment would have a profound impact on society, schools, communities and ultimately, young people.

Greenwood, in his remarks, said that the federation is very excited about the Concacaf Next Play Programme, which is a fantastic vehicle for the teachers to be working in their schools and communities to develop football but most importantly, to develop and impact social change.

“Where we can look at developing young boys and girls and improving their team work skills, their ability to interact with adults and their ability to interact with people around them; developing a healthy lifestyle.”

Greenwood encouraged the participants to approach everything with an open mind.

The Primary Schools participating are Blankenburg, Friendship, Victoria, Lichfield, New Amsterdam, Aidan’s, Coomacka, Sophia, Agricola and Tucville.

Sessions will also include practical at the GFF National Training Centre, while classroom work will include topics on leadership, coaching and your own community, age appropriate and small sided games, equality and diversity, approaching to winning and competition, next play festival overview planning and preparation.

The Workshop will end on Wednesday with a next play skills group activity. (Guyana Football Federation)

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