All you need to know about Guyana’s historic participation in the UEFA U-16 tournament

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In what is a definite first for Guyana, the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) will in April send an Under-16 boys’ national squad to a UEFA-sponsored international youth tournament in Moldova, featuring three European national teams.

In the unprecedented engagement, Guyana will face the hosts, whose senior Men’s team has ranked as high as 37th in FIFA world rankings, as well as the mountainous principality of Andorra and the Faroe Islands in a round-robin tournament, which takes place between April 11 and 19.

The Moldovan tournament will also provide an excellent platform for preparation for the forthcoming Concacaf U-17 Championship qualifiers, which are scheduled for August.

The cost of the trip to Eastern Europe will be covered by UEFA Assist, a UEFA programme which seeks to develop football within and beyond Europe, with provision made for a 28-strong group to travel, including 20 players.

See below a factsheet of the UEFA Assist Under-16 tournament.

FACTSHEET: GUYANA TO PLAY UEFA ASSIST U-16 TOURNAMENT

About the tournament

  • This is the first time Guyana has participated in a UEFA-sanctioned international youth tournament.
  • The four-team round robin U-16 tournament, featuring three UEFA member associations, has been organised by UEFA Assist, a football development programme run by the European governing body of football.
  • It will take place between April 11 and April 19 2022 in Moldova, a sovereign state in eastern Europe, nestled between Romania and Ukraine.
  • Guyana will play the hosts as well as Andorra, a principality set in the Pyrenees mountains between France and Spain, and the Faroe Islands, a self-governing archipelago in the northern Atlantic that is part of the Kingdom of Denmark.
  • The one-off tournament is funded by UEFA Assist, with provision made for 20 players and eight staff to travel from Guyana.
  • Guyana’s participation in the tournament has been facilitated by Concacaf and is the result of long-term efforts by the Guyana Football Federation to build strong relationships with its international partners. The GFF has partnered with UEFA Assist in recent years to acquire two minibuses to reduce transportation costs and facilitate participation in football programmes and competitions, to develop a forthcoming senior men’s professional league, technical capacity building in administrative functions, and “return to play” planning.
  • The tournament will lay the foundations for a strong build up to Concacaf U17 Championship qualifiers, which are scheduled for August 2022.

About the Guyana Football Federation 2022 U-16 Programme

Player selection and preparation will be led by the GFF Technical Department and conducted in full accordance with national COVID-19 guidelines.

Phase One – Player Identification

  • Talent ID programme – Regional Associations, GFF Academy Training Centres, satellite regions (e.g., Region One)
  • International talent ID
  • Players must have been born on or after January 1, 2006 to be eligible for the squad

Phase Two – Training Squad

  • Squad preparation at the GFF National Training Centre – in alignment with COVID-19 protocols, GFF Coaching Curriculum and the GFF’s national playing philosophy, with a focus on players’ individual learning objectives.
  • International preparation fixtures – The GFF has confirmed options in principle with multiple Concacaf member associations for preparation fixtures (COVID-19 and travel restrictions will guide confirmation) • Performance support – This will include the new GFF Sports Nutrition, Sports Psychology and Sports Physiotherapy programmes, combined with technology such as GPS, health metrics monitoring and video analysis.
  • Final encampment (details to be confirmed)
  • Support on updated Rules of the Game 2022 from the GFF Refereeing Department

Phase Three – UEFA Assist U-16 Tournament

Tournament dates: 11th – 19th April in Moldova

Match Day One: 13th April

Match Day Two: 15th April

Match Day Three: 18th April

Phase Four – Concacaf U-17 Championship Qualifiers

August 24 to September 4

About the competing nations

  • Moldova played its first senior men’s international match in 1991, shortly before the nation declared independence during the break-up of the Soviet Union. The Moldovan senior men’s team is ranked 181st in the world, according to FIFA, but has ranked as high as 37th in 2008. Professional club Sheriff Tiraspol, which competes in the top Moldovan national league, became the first team from Moldova to reach the UEFA Champions League group stages in 2021.
  • Andorra, the fifth smallest member association in UEFA and ranked 155th in FIFA’s world rankings, played its first international fixture in 1996. Andorra has a professional league. Andorra’s men’s team beat Moldova 1-0 at home in October 2019, having lost the away fixture in June by the same margin, as part of UEFA EURO qualifiers.
  • The Faroe Islands is the fourth smallest UEFA member by population and is ranked 123rd in FIFA’s world rankings. The archipelago, which has a semi-professional league, played its first official international match in 1989. The Faroe Islands men’s team beat Moldova 2-1 at home in September 2021, having drawn 1-1 in Moldova in March 2021 as part of their qualification group matches for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
  • Andorra and the Faroe Islands faced off in the UEFA Nations League in September and October 2020, with the Faroe Islands winning both matches, 1-0 away and 2-0 at home.
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