President of the Guyana Football Referees Council (GFRC) Alfred King has challenged the participants of the just-concluded Scotia Bank/Pepsi Schools Referees Course to seriously pursue refereeing as great opportunities await them.
King was delivering the charge to the 22 participants from secondary schools who took part in the three-day programme organized by the Scotia Bank/Pepsi Schools Football Academy in collaboration with the GFRC, Ministry of Education and the Guyana Football Federation (GFF).
According to King, who is also a Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport, many persons have been trained to be referees over the years but a very low percentage remain committed to becoming referees.
“You have everything going for you, you are young so that by the time you reach the age of 21 years some of you could become FIFA referees so I urge you stick with refereeing because the opportunities are enormous and I want you to change that low percentage,” he added.
He said the programme was the first for any sport locally where school aged children have been trained to serve as officials.
King lauded the Ministry of Education for playing a leading role in the programme because he feels sports and academics should go together.
“This programme will complement what you do in school. Sport has now taken a new dimension where it has been placed on the curriculum so that students can write it at CXC,” he told the participants.
“We take for granted the work done by referees and umpires, taking on this responsibility is a serious responsibility, you are now in charge of Fair Play,” he concluded.
FIFA-accredited Instructor, Lawrence “Sparrow” Griffith, who conducted the programme, said it was intense but the students were very enthusiastic. He encouraged them to take part in refereeing activities including attending matches, participating in future programmes and showing keen interest in their academic pursuits.
Both Scotia Bank and Pepsi representatives, Jennifer Cipriani, Scotia Marketing Manager and Marlon Gravesande, Marketing Assistant at Demerara Distillers Ltd. lauded the programme. Cipriani said she was encouraged by the enthusiasm shown by the students and she urged them to “stay in school and go to school.”
Gravesande said Pepsi was very excited to be part of the programme adding that the course was ideal for the development of football in Guyana.
Nicholas Fraser, Head of the Physical Education in the Ministry of Education said that the students will be monitored since they must have a high attendance rate at school to remain in the programme.
He said he was impressed with the turnout of the students and urged them to keep their grades up in school.
GFF President Colin Klass interacted with the students prior to the closing ceremony.
The students will serve as assistant referees for the forthcoming Schools Football Programme billed to kick off next month with 10 schools participating.
The successful participants were: Tiatun Tiatun who topped the examination, Dicquan Vancootan, Amuneke Rogers, Haiasi Jones, Mase Assanah, Shemroy Clarke, Anaynasa Thorne, Jamal Gibbs, Mike Thorne, Jamal Pedro, Colson Roberts, Jasmine Clement, Isaiah Hope, Theafoun De Cruz, Michael DeCosta, Tawanya Parris, Mortimer Stewart, Alex Melville, Akeela Lutchman, Ozeal Small and Daniel Ross.