Congratulations are in order to Digicel for running off their National Secondary Schools’ Football Championship successfully once again. Even though there may have been a few challenges, the coordinator and his team must be commended. I would also like to extend my congratulations to the Chase Academy which played a high level of football to be crowned Champions for the second consecutive year. The winning of the championship was not a walk in the park as the final score line suggested but was the result of proper planning and investment by the principal and his team and for this, they ought to be given their due.
Commiseration to the other teams that were not successful but displayed their talent to the best of their ability notwithstanding the challenges they may have encountered. I would like to single out the two Hinterland teams that competed for the third place and championship title respectively, namely, Dr. Caesar-Fox Secondary School, commonly known as Waramandong Secondary and Annai Secondary school respectively. The above-mentioned teams have been consistently performing against teams from the Coastland which have access to more resources – financial and technical – and rising to the occasion, giving their avid supporters a sense of pride and victory.
What those teams showcased was natural talent and passion for the game but, talent alone is not enough to win championships. There is need for tangible and continuous investment – proper physical facilities, certified coaches and referees and overall enabling structures – which will realise formal, institutionalised frameworks for effective administration and management of football in the hinterland. One such example is an effective club structure, which will ultimately lead to GFF Member Associations being established in respective regions to manage the game from the club to member association.
Editor, with the natural love for the game – as evidenced by the hundreds who attended the finals in support of the hinterland teams – coupled with strategic technical and physical investment, I am confident that we’ll not only see more competitive play in tournaments such as Digicel’s but also more players from the hinterland communities being included in the national teams. This is already on a progressive track with youth players from the Rupununi and Bartica representing admirably in international tournaments.
The current football administration has made a great start by their outreach to the hinterland and expressed desire to effect change in the way football is developed in same. The overall goal, however, requires both public and private sector partnerships, including the government, to maximize the potential of the players by investing in the technical and human resources, physical infrastructures and creating opportunities for consistent play. It is my hope that once this path is followed, in the next year or two, we should see the first fruits of hinterland teams, which are more competitive in their technical and tactical ability as well as mental game in school and other inter-association tournaments.
Management Development Officer
Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’