Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) President Victor Montagliani officially launched the Guyana Football Federation (GFF)/Frank Watson national U15 tournament yesterday at the National Gymnasium on the first day of his two-day visit to local shores.
The event, which emulates the nationwide Namilco Thunderbolt Flour U17 championships, was made possible through a partnership between the federation and the Pele FC Alumni Corporation.
The tournament is named after Pele FC’s first president and will be staged until 2021 with the alumni providing financial assistance to the tune of GYD $4,500,000 annually towards its administration as well as providing equipment towards its success.
The championships will commence in April.
Montagliani, during the feature address, thanked the Pele Alumni for its contribution towards the development of Guyana’s football declaring that football is akin to life and that it will teach many things and provide many opportunities throughout the journey.
He pointed out that under the stewardship of Forde, Guyana has taken its rightful place in the region adding: “CONCACAF fully supports the GFF because they are here for football. Wayne job well done.”
“CONCACAF is committed to good governance,” Montagliani said.
He went on: “CONCACAF is committed not only to football in Guyana but football in the entire region…. to the Guyana Football Federation, Pele Alumni, players and coaches, good luck in the tournament.”
GFF President, Wayne Forde, thanked the Pele Alumni for its support.
“It’s an historic and exciting day for football in Guyana as we launch a tournament that will add to the restructuring of the sport in Guyana,” he said.
“Thanks to the Pele Alumni for coming on board which will enable structured football to be played at one of the most critical levels in the development of players,” he added.
“This is a perfect example of former players investing in the sport,” Forde said.
“The U15 league is part of the strategic plan of the GFF to ensure that structured football is played all year round,” he declared.
He pointed out that it was the first time that two commercial entities were contributing towards youth developmental leagues.
The GFF president said that the aim is to create a lasting foundation that can be built upon while restoring credibility to the sport and the administration.
He declared that the current structure has already seen success following the Golden Jaguars U17 victory against Caribbean giant Haiti in the recent Tournoi International Paul Chillan in Martinique.
“Football in Guyana has its brighter days ahead of it,” Forde professed.
Meanwhile, Pele Alumni member John Yates, after revealing the humble beginnings of the club and prior contributions of the organization, said: “The purpose of this tournament is to assist with the development of youth football in Guyana and the utilization of football as a vehicle to promote education for youth footballers, both for boys and girls.
“We thank the GFF for allowing the tournament to come under its auspices and we look forward to the development of the game over the next couple years.”
Also making brief comments was Director of Sports Christopher Jones who said: “It is indeed a pleasure for the Government of Guyana to stand in support of the tournament.
“The Government is always supportive of any endeavor of the GFF that strengthens the foundation of the sport.”
He said that the focus of the GFF in expanding the game to every region was the ideal approach to development.
“On behalf of the Government and National Sports Commission, we lend support to the event and will be there to support you [GFF],” said Jones.
He called on corporate Guyana to lend support to the development of sport as it is a task that cannot be achieved solely by the government.