For many fans of the ‘beautiful game’, the concluded year can be described as dramatic and progressive both on and off the field of play. Below features a timeline of the major highlights of the year.
After being in the international wilderness in Futsal, Guyana competed in the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Futsal Championships during the period of January 22nd-24th in Cuba. The team, which was headed by then Guyana Football Federation (GFF) Technical Director Claude Bolton, crashed out in the group stage following two loses and a win with a squad featuring locally based players. The month also saw the return of Guyana-born Canadian Hall of Famer Alex Bunbury to local shores following a 40-year wait.]
The former Marítimo forward’s main priority following his return is to setup the Alex Bunbury Sports and Academics Academy (ABSAA).
Guyana was selected as an Observer for the FIFA elections in Zurich, Switzerland on the 26th. The Lady Jaguars failed to make it out of group-B in the CONACAF OlympicQualifying Tournament staged in the United States of America. Guyana finished with a record of one win and two losses.
In their opening match on February 11th, the Jaguars lost 0-5 to Canada before rebounding three days later with a 2-1 win over Guatemala. However, they were eventually eliminated from the event owing to a 1-5 defeat to arch-rival Trinidad and Tobago.
The Golden Jaguars defeated traditional rival Suriname 2-0 compliments of a double from the returning Gregory ‘Jackie Chan’ Richardson in an international friendly at the National Stadium in Providence on February 21st. It was Richardson’s first international match after being in exile since 2012.
GFF Technical Director Claude Bolton resigned March 1. According to a letter from the GFF, Bolton, who was appointed by the Normalization Committee headed by Clinton Urling, left his post due to his “inability to fulfill the residency requirement of his job in Guyana being a resident of Canada.”
Guyana topped group-5 in the CFU Caribbean Cup Qualifiers following wins over Anguilla and PuertoRico respectively. Guyana defeated Anguilla 7-0 at the National Stadium on March 22nd before edging Puerto Rico 1-0 away at the Juan Ramón Loubriel Stadium, Bayamón on March 29th.
The first ever FIFA Goal Project was down to two bids following a tender process. The GFF staged its Ordinary Congress on March 28th, with Bartica Football Association (BFA) Vice-President Carmel Williams being ratified as a Committee Member. The Judiciary Committee vacancies were also filled at the forum staged at the Herdmanston Lodge
In a groundbreaking development for the nation’s youth footballers, the GFF partnered with the National Milling Company (NAMILCO) to stage a countrywide U17 football tournament for the duration of the year.
The event, dubbed Thunderbolt Flour Power National Under-17 Intra-Association Football League, was held in each of the nine associations.
Netherlands-based establishment Greenfields was officially selected on April 7th by the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) to build the Guyana’s first ever Goal Project following the conclusion of the International Tender Process.
The Dutch corporation edged out fellow Netherlands-based entity Edel Grass after the biding process was narrowed down to two companies.
The Canadian Olympic Team defeated the Guyana Senior Team 5-0 on May 15th at the National Stadium in Providence.
Slingerz FC completed the first ever unbeaten league campaign in the GFF Stag Beer Elite League on May 23rd, crushing Monedderlust FC 5-0 at the Leonora Sports Facility to conclude the campaign with a record of 13 wins and one draw.
The Golden Jaguars suffered mixed fortunes in the second round of the CFU Caribbean Cup Qualifiers. Guyana were embarrassed 2-5 by Curacao at the Ergilio Hato Stadium in their opening fixture on June 1st. However, Guyana rebounded to seal their place in the third round after defeating US Virgin Islands 7-0 at the Addelita Cancryn Junior High School Ground three days later.
The GFF terminated the services of General Secretary Diedre Davis on June 22nd. According to the federation, Davis’s removal occurred due to her “unsatisfactory performance”.
Slingerz FC crowned the inaugural Stag Beer Elite League season winner after defeating Alpha United 1-0 at National Track and Field Facility at Leonora. The contest pitted League Genesis winner Slingerz against League Finale champion Alpha United.
Guyana participated in the CFU Men’s U17 tournament finishing with a 1-2 record in group-4 in the US Virgin Islands. In their opening match July 15th, Guyana lost to Jamaica 1-4.
Guyana then defeated the hosts 1-0 two days later to keep their hopes alive of progressing to next round. However, they were eliminated on July 19th after going down to Antigua and Barbuda 0-3.Chase Academy won their first ever Digicel Football Championship, dethroning four time defending champ Christianburg/Wismar 1-0 at the Nation Stadium on July 31st.
The GFF began advertising for the position of the General Secretary on August 16th.
FIFA contracted inspector Dr. Stephen Baker visited Guyana to conduct soil testing on the Providence Community Centre ground for the Goal Project. The Englishman analysed the entire topography of the ground and reported back to FIFA as to what is needed to install the turf.
The eighth FIFA Referees Assessment Program (RAP) was staged in Guyana. FIFA’s Regional Development Officer/Technical Instructor Peter Prendergast headed the programme which also featured FIFA Fitness Instructor Allan Morgan Browne.
The GFF in partnership with National Women’ Football Association (NAWF) officially launched the Women’s Development League at the National Racquet Centre on September 4th.Englishman Ian Greenwood was appointed the GFF’s Technical Director on September 5th, replacing Bolton who resigned in March. The UEFA Qualified Coach, who had a stint in the academy teams of traditional English giant Leeds United, edged out 13 other applicants from eight countries including Germany, Scotland, Portugal and Argentina.
Slingerz FC Boss Javed Ali was suspended by the GFF for alleged unruly behaviour at a meeting held September 9th.
The Stag Beer Elite League second season was dealt a severe blow after six of the eight clubs stated they will not commence the second season unless several pertinent issues were dealt with. The main dispute was the GFF’s decision to increase the membership of the tournament to 10 teams without consultation.Berbice construction firm Dwain Ferdinand and Home Designs and Engineering Associates inks the contract for the initiative’s sub-base work on September 21st.
The entity won the contract during an extensive tender process, edging out Courtney Benn Constructing Services following an assessment procedure conducted by a three member Evaluation Committee.The victorious bidder tabled an offer of $128,650,927 while Courtney Benn Contracting Services submitted a bid for $152,781,628 to the Evaluation Committee.
Guyana were dumped out at the third round of the CFU Caribbean Cup Qualifiers following embarrassing losses to Suriname and Jamaica. The Guyanese lost 2-3 to the Dutch men on October 8th at the Andre Kamperveen Stadium after leading 1-0 heading into the second period.They then went down to the defending champions Jamaica three days later at the National Track and Field Centre in Leonora 2-4 despite leading 2-0 at the halftime interval.
The elimination from the event lead to Head-Coach Jamal Shabazz announcing that he will be relinquishing his post at the end of his contract which was set to expire yesterday.
The Alex Bunbury Sports and Academics Academy (ABSAA) following consultation with the government is assigned a plot of land in the Ituni area for the construction of Guyana’s first modern multipurpose sport and educational facility on the 15th.
GFF President Wayne Forde is appointed to post in the CONCACAF Governance Committee.
The GFF signs an unprecedented Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Guyana Chronicle to promote the agenda of the federation. The two- year deal was inked October 24th.
Despite the withdrawals of Slingerz FC, Alpha United, GFC and Pele, the GFF launches the second season of the Stag Beer Elite League on the 11th featuring debutants Victoria Kings and Topp XX. The officially kicked off on the 20th
Sparta Boss created history in the Guinness ‘Greatest of the Streets’ Championship by becoming the first Georgetown team to successfully retain their divisional title following a 1-0 win over Tucville.
The Guyana National Under-15 boys team (Junior Jaguars) competed in their first ever Claude Elise football tournament in French Guiana, ending with a 0-3 record following defeats to Martinique, Guadeloupe and Suriname.
The Guyanese lost 0-5 to Martinique and Guadeloupe before going down 1-2 to traditional rival Suriname.
The Stag Nations Cup, the only national yearend tournament was hampered by the torrential rainfall and was rescheduled until further notice. The tourney consisted of teams from five associations.
Let’s hope for a better 2017!