The Guyana Football Federation (GFF) and world governing body FIFA are ready to move ahead with the establishment of Guyana’s first Goal Project.
Under the Normalisation Committee, the GFF and the Eccles/Ramsburg Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) signed an agreement that saw the local governing body for the sport receiving a 30-year lease for the 8.5 acres Providence Community Centre Ground.
Following a unanimous decision taken by the President Wayne Forde led Executive Committee to endorse the project, FIFA will now send out an International Tender for contractors for the installation of the artificial turf and once identified, work is expected to begin and a timeline of five months of completion has been set from commencement.
Members of the Executive Committee recently met with Marcel Gaskin, Architect of the Conceptual Design for the facility, where it was pointed out the project will be completed in two phases with the first being the installation of the artificial turf.
The second phase will see infrastructure such as stands, lights, beach and futsal training pitches, mini pitches and an administrative centre for the Headquarters of the Federation being establish.
FIFA contracted inspector Dr. Stephen Baker visited Guyana on August 25, 2015, and conducted soil testing where Englishman looked at the sub-base and at the entire topography and reported to FIFA on what was needed in order to have the turf installed.
On December 5, Howard McIntosh, FIFA’s Development Officer also met with members of the GFF’s Executive Committee on his visit and conveyed FIFA’s satisfaction (with the conceptual design) and readiness to move forward with the Goal Project.
Guyana was actually earmarked by FIFA to pioneer its ‘Goal Project’ with then FIFA President Sepp Blatter making his maiden voyage in 1999 for the turning of the sod at the University of Guyana, but plans fell through after negotiations went sour the Guyana Government.
In 2007 under former president Colin Klass, the GFF began work at Orangestein, on the East Bank of Essequibo, for what was supposed to be the location for Guyana’s first Goal Project.
Following Klass’ exit, Franklin Wilson, his vice-president at the time (2013), had assumed the post of president (ag) and travelled to Zurich where negotiations with FIFA’s Development Committee brokered US$500 000 to be allocated to Guyana to help get the ‘Goal Project’ off the ground.
Wilson’s effort also failed to see the project start, and then President Christopher Matthias upon taking office, abandoned the plot of land, already owned by the GFF at Orangestein, stating that the site was too remote and sought further negotiations with the Ministry of Sport for land behind the National Track and Field Centre at Leonora.
Things again didn’t materialise, since the then government had offered only a little over three acres of land which FIFA said was inadequate for the Project to materialise.
The new Executive Committee of the GFF, however believes that this project represents a tangible demonstration of a new era of football in Guyana and the change in governance structure to provide material evidence of development commitments by FIFA and the Executive Committee.