GFF, Sport Minister discuss strategic partnerships, key development initiatives

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President of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF), Wayne Forde, visited the new Minister of Culture Youth and Sport (MCY&S), Charles Ramson Jr., on Tuesday where he emphasised the importance of strategic partnerships to enable the development of sport and football in particular, and updated him on some of the key initiatives being undertaken by the GFF.

The visit, done on invitation by the Honourable Minister, was held at the Racquet Centre, Woolford Avenue, and was attended by GFF’s Executive Committee Member Dion Inniss, while Mr. Kashif Muhammed accompanied the Minister.

Forde, in congratulating the Minister and giving GFF’s commitment for a long-term and mutually-beneficial partnership to advance football’s development, noted the impact these partnerships have on the human capital – the thrust of the investment.

“Because, at the core, sports organisations are essentially in the business of human development, which is a primary nation-building objective. Football is a key example of how that takes place. Those of us who are blessed with the privilege to manage football will say to you that less than one (1) % of every human being that comes into contact with the game from a playing standpoint will go on to play professionally,” Forde explained.

“So, the vast majority of humans that participate in football, whether they start at the early grassroots level or older, will take away the fundamental human values that football teaches and will most likely go on to lead a wholesome, responsible and productive life. With football we develop a passion for winning, we also learn to lose gracefully, we learn to respect the rules of the game, and the importance of identifying a figure of authority, who is usually the coach – these are the hallmarks of the football experience.”

The GFF President noted the investment being made on student-athlete scholarships as well as the infrastructural projects in train, including the FIFA and CONCACAF-supported projects.

These projects include the country’s first exclusive football Technical Training Centre, which is currently under construction at Providence, East Bank Demerara and the Durban Park Complex.

The Durban Park Complex, for which the Denmark FA will provide engineering assistance, will consist of a playfield for international matches as well as a number of mini pitches for the promotion of grassroots football where the surrounding communities will have unlimited access.

“The GFF is committed to cultivating partnerships that would lead to the holistic development of the sport, at every level,” said Forde. “We will surely do our part and that is my assurance to you, under my leadership.”

For his part, Minister Ramson Jr. has promised to bring a proactive approach towards the management of sport in Guyana, noting that there has to be a holistic approach to revive sport with associations and federations playing a major role.

The Minister stated that his aim would be to build relationships of trust, cooperation and confidentiality amongst all stakeholders to advance sport, pointing out that the GFF can look forward to the full support of his Ministry.

“We want to be able to collaborate first and foremost, to be able to get football with all the main sport functioning at an optimum level so that we can get young people playing sport, harnessing young talent for the bigger stage.”

While acknowledging the challenges that come with his vision for the development of the sport, which includes infrastructure, he stated that institutional partnerships are key to harness the young talent that is available here, pointing out that there’s a huge difference between “just being good and being great.”

“With us here, you’ve got friends who understand the importance of building it from the ground up and that have similar objectives to be able to work together for a common goal. So it’s a win-win situation for us to be able to collaborate in a major way to get things done.”

The aim, Ramson Jr. said, is for the Sport Ministry to interface with the various federations and associations on a regular basis.

“It would obviously require for you to dance with me because I cannot dance alone. I just want you to know this is where we stand; collaboration, know that you have access, know that your government is here to work with you. You would have far more weight in whatever you do in your own operation and relations with your international parent body to say that your government is assisting in this regard. It adds a lot of weight and credibility to you and your operations so I want you to know that this is the basis on which we start and how we will proceed.”

Minister Ramson Jr. further noted: “What you’re not going to get from me is laziness; it would be a very proactive operation on my end and lots of energy.”

Both Forde and Ramson Jr. have pledged to meet regularly in the ensuing months and years as they seek to further advance the development of the world’s most beautiful game. (GFF)

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