Following years of uncertainty surrounding the entirety of the programme, the Guyana Football Federation (GFF), has officially launched Phase One of the long awaited FIFA Forward Project.
Phase one of the venture [previously known as the Goal Project], which is scheduled to commence in seven days, is centered on the construction of the synthetic surface and the goal-nets.
The GFF is also negotiating for the lighting system to be included at this level of building, as the objective is to have a playable facility while the construction is ongoing.
The aforementioned information was revealed at a press conference held at the federation’s headquarters by the GFF President Wayne Forde yesterday.
“This is an exciting day for football development in Guyana. We are formally launching the commencement of phase one for the construction of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) National Football Training Centre. The construction of the artificial turf will be done by Greenfield, the subcontractor who will be working along with Greenfield is Nabi and Sons [Limited],” said Forde.
“Just to share with the general public how we arrived at this situation, we are all aware that FIFA would have gone through several changes within its developmental arm over the past couple of years and the new management at FIFA Development wanted to have a situation where a single contractor is responsible for the entire works associated with the construction of the artificial turf. As a result of that, the executive committee met with Home Designs and Engineering Associates who were awarded a contract last year and we were able to amicably resolve the matter relating to their contract and as it is right now, the works on the ground will be undertaken by Nabi and Sons, who is contracted by Greenfield,” he added.
He went on: “Greenfield is the sole contractor for this phase of the work but their sub-contractor will be Nabi and Sons. We wanted to ensure we cleared the air on that because many of you would have covered the press conference where the signing of that contract between the GFF and Home Designs and Engineering Associates took place,” he added.
“This is a monumental step for the development of football. The design emphasis of the facility is one where we can produce the best possible players so much of the conceptual design that you see is going to be tweaked a bit so that facility caters for the development of those athletes,” he said.
He disclosed that the facility will include a gym, dorm quarters, high quality kitchen services, commercial areas for financial benefits to the federation and possibly a cool down pool.
“Much of that work will commence after we would have completed phase one. Our projection is that it will take a little over two years before we have a completed facility. I can assure you that it will make a tremendous impact on how football is operated in Guyana. This is considered phase one and it is expected to be completed in the middle to end of January ” he said.
Asked about the possible start date for the project, Forde said: “We are doing a site visit this afternoon [yesterday] with Greenfields there, we are going to look at the existent situation, a few ‘I’s need to be dotted and a few ‘T’s need to be crossed but it’s very likely that works will commence in no later than seven days.
“When FIFA Developmental Arm took the decision when we had communicated to them at the initial stage when we assumed control of the project to have one single contractor responsible for the preparation and the turf, they would have asked Greenfield to submit their quotation for that phase of the work. FIFA managed the entire process and the GFF is not involved in that by any means. This is a business relationship between Greenfield and FIFA Developmental Arm,” he said.
Quizzed about the total price of the project, Forde said, “We don’t know that yet because they are some tweaking that will be done to the existing concept that has been developed and with that they will be cost implications so we don’t know that as yet. But they are certain specific aspects of the designing that will certainly influence costs. Once we know that we will share that information.
“The FIFA forward project has an annual US$750,000 allocation for infrastructure development but for a project like this where FIFA understands the value of completing it as quickly as possible because of the changes in rates and how it could influence the cost of the project if you stretch it out with US$750,000 increments, its being discussed right now that we access as much funds as possible to keep the project rolling forward.
“We are working very closely with FIFA to identify a Designing Engineer company that will come and work with the federation to understand exactly what we are trying to do and once those engagements take place, the work will start. Once we have the specifications for the various aspects of the facility, there will be competitive tendering for every phase of the construction. That is not going to be administered by the executive.”
“Our philosophy is that we are here to serve football and it’s not really not about us but what it means to the players and the fraternity in genera. As we communicated to you at one of our press conferences, is that we also negotiated with FIFA to have one synthetic surface in each member association and we are working very hard so that is done as well.”
“We want to have a situation where football is not interrupted by the weather pattern we usually experience in Guyana but at the same time our members can have a venue that they can call their own. It is unfortunate that after so many years, the GFF is still working towards having a home of its own but this is the situation that we are in and we have to make the best of it. The way that we project the installation of the synthetic turf within our member associations, the next member we are targeting would be Linden and then the third member we are looking at will be the Rupununi Football Association. Thereafter we will reevaluate the situation and prioritize the next three members in line,” he said.
Meanwhile, Greenfields representative Johannes Van Krimpen said that the surface will be built to the highest standards as they must maintain the quality and criteria mandated by FIFA.
The Dutch entity was officially selected by FIFA to build the then Goal Project following the conclusion of the International Tender Process.
Greenfields edged out fellow Netherlands firm Edel Grass after the bidding process was narrowed down to two companies. Founded in 2003, the company has installed more than 2500 pitches across the globe.
They have also received the FIFA Preferred Producer for Football Title as well as similar accolades from the International Hockey Federation and the International Rugby Board.