CHAIRMAN of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) Normalisation Committee Clinton Urling called the occasion “monumental” with Guyana finally coming closer to realising their first ‘Goal Project’.
Yesterday, the GFF and the Eccles/Ramsburg Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) signed an agreement that would see the local government body for the sport of football get a 30-year lease for the Providence Community Centre ground.
The ground, 8.5 acres in size, sits opposite the Guyana National Stadium and according to Urling, yesterday’s event “will change the face of football in Guyana forever”.
Guyana in 2007 under former president Colin Klass began work at Orangestein, on the East Bank of Essequibo, for what was supposed to be the location for Guyana first Goal Project.
When Klass had found himself in ‘hot water’ for the ‘cash for votes’ scandal, 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.
Football in Guyana was in its worst state and for the first time in decades, elections were held and Christopher Matthias was elected as president.
Matthias, upon taking office, abandoned the plot of land, already owned by the GFF at Orangestein, stating that the distance was too out-of-bounds 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 Government had only offered a little over three acres of land which FIFA said was a ‘no-no’.
Guyana was actually earmarked by FIFA to pioneer its ‘Goal Project’ with president Sepp Blatter making his maiden voyage in 1999 for the turning of the sod at the University of Guyana but that also fell through after negotiations with the Guyana Government.
“The plan moving forward is to ensure that the GFF is a self-sustainable organisation, not solely relying on the FAP from FIFA or relying on Government and Corporate support only, we could … host our own games here, our own activities and we can rent the facilities to other disciplines and share it,” Urling said.
In giving a projection of what the facility would have upon completion, Urling said, “We’ll have the artificial turf, we’re looking to put maybe a Futsal pitch, we’ll also look to have beach soccer, some mini football courts, and if there’s enough space, may be a basketball court as well.”
Urling said that the GFF is already “talking to some of the architects in Guyana with regard to the design of the facility and we’ll start work as soon as next week and within a year or two, we’ll have the facility ready.”
By Rawle Toney