East Bank lads top Group A in GFF Boys U-13 Challenge Trophy
The East Bank Demerara Football Association Academy Training Centre (ATC) U-13 Boys’ Team climbed to first place in Group A of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) Inter-Academy Boys’ U-13 Challenge Trophy last weekend, defeating rivals from the Bartica Football Association in a close-fought 2-1 win.
A brace of goals from Levi Sampson either side of a strike from prolific Ezekiel Baldeo was enough to see the East Bank side move into pole position of their group at the GFF National National Training Centre on October 30.
West Demerara and Rupununi played out a thrilling 2-2 draw in Group A at Leonora on the same day, with two first-half goals from Rupununi’s Joseph Eusebio cancelled out after the break by Colin Frank-David and a Neyo Robinson own goal.
The final match of the weekend between Upper Demerara and Berbice in Group B at Wisburg Secondary School on October 31 was abandoned due to the inadequate preparation of the field of play, with Berbice awarded an automatic three points for the win as the away team.
The results mean that East Bank leapfrog Bartica at the top of Group A, while Berbice rise above Upper Demerara into third place in Group B, behind leaders Georgetown and second-placed East Coast Demerara.
The U-13 boys’ tournament is part of the GFF’s ground-breaking ATC programme, the first of its kind in the Caribbean and launched in 2017.
The ATC is an elite and selective national youth development programme that gives girls and boys aged between 6-19 a weekly, structured training curriculum that is anchored in the GFF football philosophy and delivered consistently throughout the GFF’s nine regional associations.
The competition will see all nine associations field a team from their U-13 ATC groups, alongside the National U-17 Women’s Team participating as guests. A primary purpose of the tournament is to identify players to participate in the Caribbean Football Union Boys’ U-14 Challenge Series in 2022.
This weekend, on November 6, Essequibo/Pomeroon take on West Demerara at 13:00h at a venue to be confirmed, while Rupununi play Bartica from 15:00h at the Aranaputa Sports Ground. On November 7, Georgetown will go up against Upper Demerara at a time to be confirmed.
A previously planned match between the East Coast and the National U-17 Women’s Team, back from a historic bid to reach the 2022 Concacaf Championship, will be rescheduled for a later date.
Apart from talent identification for the upcoming CFU tournament, the U-13 tournament provides an opportunity for the GFF to assess the quality of work being carried out by the ATCs in all nine associations and to test logistics for future inter-academy and intra-association tournaments, which will be a key feature in the 2022 national football season.