Rupununi ATC important step in getting hinterland players into national programme

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The President of the Guyana Football Federation has hailed the launch of the Rupununi Football Association (RFA) Academy Training Centre (ATC) as “an important first step in a clear pathway for hinterland players to be channelled into the national programme”.

Attending the restart of the Rupununi ATC with GFF Youth Development Officer Bryan Joseph and U-20 Men’s Head Coach Wayne Dover, President Wayne Forde praised President Rayan Farias and the Executive Committee of the RFA for the “remarkable” work they have put in so far to develop the sport across Region Nine.

“It is my solemn hope, with the support of the wider community, the village leaders and other stakeholders within the region, that more young boys and girls will make it to the national teams of Guyana and go on to represent their country, region and villages with honour and distinction,” Forde said.

The GFF-funded ATCs create a national network and development pathway for youth football with professional coaching for girls and boys in the Federation’s nine regional associations.

Through its ground-breaking Members Financial Assistance Programme (M-FAP), the GFF is providing all the resources necessary to deliver continuous youth programmes and competitions for the first time.

“We are handing over full ownership of this ATC to the Executive Committee of the RFA,” Forde continued.

“Through M-FAP, the GFF will continue to pay the ATC staff, and provide all the equipment and funding necessary for our forthcoming inter-academy tournaments. We will also be conducting quality control visits along with child protection training. I would like to wish the RFA family every success in growing the ATC programme in the coming years by opening up more centres across the region.”

Officials of the GFF and the Rupununi Football Association at the launch of the ATC

The RFA is the sixth GFF regional association to relaunch its ATC under a devolved structure which sees the management of the programme transferring to the regional associations, with resources and support provided by the GFF.

Regional associations responsible for Upper Demerara, West Demerara, Georgetown, East Bank Demerara and Bartica have also restarted their ATC programmes, with all activities conducted in compliance with strict COVID-19 protocols. For example, ATC staff must be vaccinated before taking part in any training sessions.

GFF Youth Development Officer and former national player Bryan Joseph, who is responsible for the day-to-day oversight of the ATC programme, said the GFF was excited about the prospect of seeing new talent emerge in the Rupununi, a region that is renowned for its deep passion for football.

“The Executive Committee of the RFA has shown great commitment to take on the significant challenges posed by the geographical make-up of the region, but we’ve seen the passion of the people and their communities,” Joseph said.

“The technical team at the RFA will continue to fine tune the operations of the academy as they work towards ensuring that the best players in the region benefit from this programme,” he added.

“The RFA has a good complement of equipment to execute the work of the academy and significant strides are being made to ensure that we build up coaching capacity to make full use of that equipment.”

RFA President Farias called on the regional authorities to join forces with the RFA to help create the leading football academy for youth development in Guyana.

“I would like to express my deepest appreciation to President Forde for empowering the RFA’s Executive Committee and the wider Rupununi football family with the much needed financial and material resources which will allow us to accelerate the growth and development of the beautiful game across the region,” Farias said.

“Our members and all stakeholders across the region will continue to work very hard to ensure that many more boys and girls from Region Nine will be given the best possible chance to make Guyana’s national teams and represent our Rupununi at the international level,” he added. (GFF)

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