President of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) Wayne Forde described the year 2015 as one of the most challenging in the sport’s history and said that he’s prepared and ready to lead his executives through the uphill task that’s ahead in 2016.
Forde took charge of ‘the beautiful game’ when the GFF’s 22 members and affiliates took to the polls in what was described as one of the most important elections ever held.
Prior to Forde soaring to the helm of the GFF, football in Guyana was governed by a FIFA installed Normalisation Committee; a body headed by businessman Clinton Urling.
“The earlier part of 2015 saw situations that overlapped from 2014 where they were not a lot of football being played. Good enough the NC was able to pick things up and the STAG Elite League is a marked improvement and shift away from the start/stop operation we had in local football over the past couple of years” Forde highlighted.
Forde, the former President of Fruta Conquerors Football Club, reminiscing on the year 2015, described the implementation of the eight-team STAG Elite League and the establishment of the CONCACAF Club Licensing as the year’s (2015) biggest achievement.
In January of 2015, FIFA, in collaboration with CONCACAF, informed its member associations about the implementation of the FIFA Club Licensing System in CONCACAF that introduced a set of minimum criteria into national and continental competitions from 2015 and 2016, respectively.
In Guyana, under the guidance of Technical Director Claude Bolton, CONCACAF licensing was implemented, with CONCACAF Club Licensing Manager Andres Portabella and FIFA Consultant Michael Gandler hosting a seminar for the 11 clubs who had met the criteria.
Of the 11 teams, Alpha United, Slingerz FC, Fruta Conquerors, Buxton United, Monedderlust, Pele FC, Georgetown Football Club (GFC) and the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) where the teams named to participate in the two-part STAG Elite League .
“I think the Club Licensing programme could be considered as one of more significant achievements (of 2015). As we all know in every country in the world, football really starts at the club level. If we could get clubs functioning on all levels, then you’re likely to get players coming out from that environment bring into our national programme where you don’t have to spend a lot of time and resources developing” Said Forde.
Despite its many challenges, Forde believes “the year (2015) ended very well for football”
Looking ahead, Forde is of the opinion that “2016 will see a more consistent trend once the technical director gets his programme rolled out. I think with the emphasis needs to be on football from every youth level mainly the focus on the U-15 because that is where the identification and the talent and the potential for the players are zoned in on”
Both Guyana’s senior male and female national teams were actively involved in international campaign in 2015, with the men participating in the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers and the women vying for a spot at this year’s Olympic Games in Brazil. Of the two, only the women saw some amount of success.
Guyana’s world cup hopes were ended by St Vincent and the Grenadine but Coach Mark Rodrigues was able to lead his ‘Lady Jags’ to the final stage of qualification that will determine who will be CONCACAF’s representatives at the event in Rio de Janeiro.
“Our international campaign didn’t went as well as I trust all involved could’ve planned, but hopefully in 22016, with some of the work we’re going to focusing on, we’re hoping to change some of that”.
Nonetheless, Forde added, that in 2016, “I want to see a more vibrant senior men’s and senior female programme, we want to see a consistent league arrangement through the country, a continued emphasis on coaches and managers education. We also want to see the emphasis also being placed on building capacity among the functioning managers within the sport of football”