(article taken from Guyana Times)
The Guyana Football Federation (GFF) inaugural Stag Beer Elite League is set for a September kick-off, and one of the eight clubs that have qualified to compete in the eight-month League is eagerly looking forward to what beckons for Guyana’s football.
Fruta Conquerors, one of the country’s most successful clubs, both on and off the field, is among the top local clubs that have been guaranteed a place in the first-ever League, which is set to transform Guyana’s football landscape.
The other clubs are Alpha United, Guyana Defence Force, Slingerz FC, Pele, Georgetown Football Club, Buxton United and Monedderlust FC.
Fruta Conquerors Football Club (FCFC) President Wayne Forde, in an exclusive interview with this publication on Tuesday, hailed the move by the GFF’s Normalisation Committee to focus its attention on professionalising the game here.
Forde described the League as “a very timely item on Guyana’s football programme”, noting that for too long the country has been aligned with football at an amateur level.
“It [the League] is what Guyana’s football needed,” Forde declared. The FCFC head added “if we’re serious about moving forward, we have to embrace initiatives like these. It is a good thing”.
In terms of his team’s prospects in the League, Forde said his boys have the potential to “spring a few surprises” although they didn’t get some of the desired players during the transfer window.
He said the Tucville-based club will focus on exposing some of its younger players, the majority of whom are currently in training under the watchful eyes of FCFC Head Coach Calvin Allen.
“The Club has remained active even in this period of dormancy. We’ve been playing a few friendlies so we’re getting ready for the League,” Forde said.
In keeping with the new mandate issued by CONCACAF, the GFF earlier this year invited applications for Elite Club Licences from all member associations to be submitted by May 12, 2015. A total of 11 applications were received.
According to the GFF, as per CONCACAF guidelines, a First Instance Decision Making Body was established to review and pronounce on these applications. It was agreed that no Normalisation Committee Members of the GFF would sit on this body.
Following the review process, all 11 applications were approved for Elite Club Licence. The Competitions Committee of the GFF then met with the view of choosing eight of the 11 clubs to participate in the soon-to-be launched Elite League.
The selection process was guided by four criteria that were established long before applications were received. These criteria were (1) Elite League Licence (which all 11 clubs satisfied); (2) Budget and Financial standing; (3) Competitive results over a three-year period; and (4) Geographic proximity of the club.
Following a thorough review based on the criteria outlined, the following eight clubs were invited to participate in the inaugural GFF Elite League: Alpha United, GDF, Slingerz FC, Pele, Fruta Conquerors, GFC, Buxton United and Monedderlust FC.
For the first time in Guyana’s club football structure, players and staff will be contracted to play football during the League.