One Guyana President’s Cup is about unity, national football development—President Ali
With the One Guyana President’s Cup football tournament set to kick off on Sunday in communities in each Administrative Region, President Irfaan Ali says the idea is to use the ‘Beautiful Game’ as part of his Government’s plan to integrate sports into national life.
“One Guyana is not only about unifying people, it is how do we bring together all dimensions of our society into building a One Guyana, one country, and sport is an important part of that,” President Ali said on Friday in a release to the media.
The President was speaking on the sidelines of his meeting with football stakeholders at State House, regarding the inaugural tournament.
The One Guyana Football Tournament trophy was also handed over to President Ali by the Brass Aluminium and Cast Iron Foundry Ltd. (BACIF) Managing Director Peter Pompey.
The tournament which will be administered by the Guyana Football Federation (GFF), will kick off with an inter-ward competition in all 10 Regions.
Out of this phase 10 regional teams will contest the inter-regional round-robin championship, with the finals set for January 1, 2023.
Similarly, to the sentiments expressed by GFF president Wayne Forde regarding the tournament helping football’s local governing body to unearth new talent, President said the first-of-its-kind programme gives the Government “an excellent platform which we can reach communities. We can reach disadvantaged people. We can reach young people. And football is an important sport for Guyana.”
“I’ve been around football, I’ve looked at football, and I think we have the capabilities and capacity to get to the world cup. We will be using this brand to project football in a very positive direction, to launch a regional competition,” President Ali said.
President Ali brought together all stakeholders of the sport, more importantly, the GFF and the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport, during the conceptualizing phase of the tournament, sharing his vision for using football as part of his unifying plans, but also ensuring that the players benefit above all.
An ardent supporter of cricket, President Ali also believes that football has the same opportunity as the Gentleman’s Game to bring people together, adding that “this is why, in conceptualizing this tournament, I asked the guys to look at how we can bring every region on board, so it goes beyond clubs.”
The One Guyana President’s Cup will see all players and coaching staff financially rewarded for their involvement, but the Head-of-State is calling on the most important asset to his master plan – the players – to be fully committed, pointing out “they can’t be playing in any other tournament; they have to sign on here.”
With several entities known for supporting football, particularly during the festive season, President Ali is hoping to bring all of corporate Guyana under one umbrella for the President’s Cup.
He further stated, “this doesn’t take away the community football and the small goal football. That is an important part of community life and building up capacity.”
“But, here is where you have a serious national tournament that is geared at identifying a pool of national players that will go into an academy, that will have a three-year engagement to ensure that they’re doing the right thing, that they are disciplined, that they’re practising and having the right nutrition and they are having an opportunity to have a future after football.”
President Ali lauded the GFF, the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport and other stakeholders for bringing to life his One Guyana concept in Sports, calling the tournament “fantastic.”
President Ali, while encouraging Guyana to support, made it clear that his heart is with Region 3. “I’ll be supporting Nationally, all of Guyana, but of course, I come from Region 3, I have to be a fan for them too.”