GFF distributes equipment for restart of Regional Academy Training Centre Programme

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The Guyana Football Federation (GFF) distributed full-size, portable goals and a large quantity of football equipment to its nationwide network of regional Academy Training Centres (ATCs) on Thursday as it announced its plan to safely resume the pioneering youth development programme.

The unprecedented investment, which falls under the GFF’s Members Financial Assistance Programme (M-FAP), provides coaches and players with the equipment they need to start training as soon as the green light is received from the national authorities.

The GFF is investing G$18 million in staffing and G$12 million in equipment for its ATC programme each year.

“This is the first step in our return to play plans,” GFF President Wayne Forde told reporters at the GFF National Training Centre in Providence.

“Football has been dormant since March 2020 and the entire fraternity has been eager to get back to the pitch.”

“This is the programme that will transform Guyana’s football – we have invested heavily in it in the past and we will continue to do so, but the only way this will work is for the regional associations and the clubs to commit themselves to working within this comprehensive youth development structure, which has been recognised by FIFA as one of the best in the region.”

All GFF personnel associated with the nine regional centres will be required to take the COVID-19 vaccinations, undergo regular testing and adhere to strict safety protocols as part of the GFF’s “return to play” roadmap, which was developed in consultation with the Government of Guyana.

Officials of the GFF and representatives of the nine regional associations pose with the equipment

“The GFF Executive Committee has led the way in being vaccinated, and we continue to lobby all of our members about the importance of being vaccinated,” Forde said.

“Those efforts will be intensified over the next few months as we set out to ensure the entire football fraternity is fully vaccinated – that is a very important step in ensuring we can get back to playing football.”

The GFF has remodelled its ATC programme to enhance its performance and incentivise greater engagement among its regional associations by transferring the management of each centre to the respective association, providing extra equipment and training, and creating clear roles and responsibilities that must be fulfilled to continue receiving resources.

“We are very excited about the academies starting back up again and having the associations being the driving force to ensure that we get the best players from across Guyana into our national teams and also into our competitions calendar,” said GFF Technical Director Ian Greenwood.

“For the youth development programme to be implemented, it has to be regional associations that are the driving force at the community level – they are accountable for the success for the competitions within their region,” Greenwood explained.

Each of the nine regional associations will receive a comprehensive array of football equipment for the effective delivery of ATC programmes, including a pair of high quality, full size, portable goals, 50 footballs, more than 50 training cones and hurdles, four small-sized training goals, 32 bibs, maintenance, medical and storage kit.

The GFF Technical Department will oversee the performance of each centre and ensure the correct usage of funds and equipment, as well as providing capacity building support to improve the quality of coaching at regional level.

“Our role is now going to be monitoring the delivery of sessions, monitoring the coaches to help in their growth and development, and also ensuring the national football philosophy is being delivered at the centres,” said GFF Youth Development Officer Bryan Joseph.

“It’s going to require a huge effort on behalf of the regional associations – with monitoring by the GFF Technical Department – to ensure that, collectively, we get the best out of our players and coaches so that, as we move forward, we will continue to produce elite players for Guyana’s national teams.”

This latest distribution, funded by FIFA and Concacaf as part of the GFF’s ground-breaking M-FAP investment in football, comes just weeks after GFF members received laptops to support their administrative duties as well as full playing kits for men’s, women’s and youth football. (GFF)

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