With a renewed emphasis on women’s football locally, the Petra Organization officially launched the 3rd Annual Smalta Girls Pee Wee Football Championship yesterday at the National Library on Main and Church Streets.
The event is slated to commence this Saturday at the Ministry of Education ground on Carifesta Avenue, and will run until Saturday, 17th December. It will feature 16 schools divided into four groups, initially competing in a round-robin format.
Group-A comprises of West Ruimveldt, North Georgetown, Smith Memorial and Winfer Gardens, while group-B features St. Pius, Enterprise, South Ruimveldt and St. Agnes. Group-C consists of Stella Maris [2014 winner], F.E. Pollard, St. Angela’s and School of the Nations, while group-D contains defending champ St. Stephen’s, Tucville, St. Margaret’s and J.E. Burnham.
Upon the completion of the group stage, the top two finishers of each group will progress to the knockout round. The remaining eight teams will faceoff for positions 9th-16th.
Trophies will be awarded to all 16 teams, while medals will be awarded to the top two finishers. On the individual side, accolades will be awarded to the Most Valuable Player, the Highest Goal Scorer and the Best Goalkeeper.
Troy Mendonca, Co-Director of the Petra Organization said the company is proud to be associated with event and that he is thankful to Ansa McAl [local agent for Smalta], the Guyana Football Federation (GFF), the Ministries of Public Health and Education for their continued support.
According to Mendonca, the renewed importance placed on the development of the women’s game by the GFF and FIFA has “given the organization renewed vigor to push the program forward”, noting the fruits of their labour will be borne out due to this commitment.
Joy Gravesande, Health Officer of the Ministry of Public Health said, “We are pleased to contribute to the event and we have two messages that are a part of tournament. One is that girls can do it too, and two, is that you are never too young”.
She noted, “The messages carry importance as the ministry wants to encourage that football is not only a sport for the boys, and that if you want to go ahead and continue with it, you can do it,” revealing that the intention of the ministry is to stage educational seminars with each participating school centered on puberty.
Nicholas Fraser, Head of Physical Education Department of the Ministry of Education said, “The Petra Organization is one the entities that envisions the need for tournaments that benefit the populace”, adding there needs to be a continued partnership between the respective stakeholders in the sport so that continuity can occur at the various levels.
Fraser praised the tournament’s format, as it allows for learning due to the amount of matches that will be played by each school, noting “Thanks to the Petra Organization, as well as the cast of sponsors for supporting the event”.
Meanwhile, Smalta Representative Sean Abel said the company has been hand in hand with football at every level, and that their presence highlights their continued commitment to sports which will endure for the foreseeable future.
“I am pleased to say that Smalta is the sponsor of the event, and I want to say good luck to the coordinators and all the teams” he added.