Mobile phone company, Digicel yesterday launched the 6th edition of their National u-18 Secondary Schools Football Championship at the Covent Garden Secondary School.
The event which will be played in the traditional knockout format, will be staged in every region from June 10th and will conclude on July 31st at the National Stadium in Providence.
During a simple ceremony, CEO of Digicel Kevin Kelly thanked the relevant stakeholders for continued partnership in making the event a possibility throughout the years, noting that the event is a huge undertaking and the biggest in sport locally.
Similarly Digicel Marketing Executive Jacqueline James said the event which was launched in 2011, was branded under the theme of Unite, Develop and Excel which means to Unite Communities, Develop Talents and Excel for the highest possibilities.
According to James, 160 teams participated in last year’s edition and that 180 teams have been invited this year which translates to an increase of nine percent.
She further thanked stakeholders including the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) and the Guyana Football Referees Council (GFRC), saying that without their help the event would not be possible.
Meanwhile, National Sports Commission (NSC) Chief, Christopher Jones said the entity is proud to be a part of the event, declaring that the project is valuable to various sectors such as economics and tourism as it promotes various avenues in every participating region.
He further said it’s one of the few events that provides the opportunity for students to visit the hinterland areas as many activities are staged on the coastline, declaring the event is a demonstration as to why the company is “The Bigger, Better Network” due to their financial contribution to the sporting as sector.
According to Jones, more initiatives like this are required by the private sector, noting the entity must be praised for their continued commitment and that the government will continue to lend support where needed.
Also, Guyana Football Federation (GFF) President Wayne Forde said despite the turmoil that has often engulfed local football in recent times, the company has remained a constant and committed stakeholder for the last six years. He noted that while administration is lacking in football “the world over”, the company is committed to the development of the discipline and that the event is the perfect platform to achieve that objective.
Forde noted that the event has consistently exposed many hidden gems in various regions, declaring that due to the exploits of the event, the composition and dynamic of the various national teams will be altered in years to come.“Digicel is a loyal friend of the GFF and we will do everything to support the event” he added.
The winner of the event is slated to receive $1,000,000 toward the funding of a school project and the Championship trophy while the second-place unit will receive $700,000 and the runners-up accolade.
The third and fourth-placed units will walk away with $400,000 and $350,000 and the corresponding trophy. Similarly, $100,000 will be awarded to each zone winner.