The Guyana Football Federation (GFF), an institution that is headed by former Fruta Conquerors boss Wayne Forde, staged an extravagant gala on Friday to honour stakeholders for their contribution to football development.
Nothing of note is worth honouring in football presently.
The same institution that is millions of dollars in debt and seemingly cannot afford to pay the clubs their hard earned prize monies, transportation fees, ground rentals and match-day stipends, opted to stage an expensive shindig for local football’s purported elite while at the same time there is a Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the alleged sexual harassment of female referees by senior officials in the sport.
There is also the alleged inappropriate behaviour of GFF Executive Committee Member Keith O’Jeer.
Interestingly, was O’Jeer at the awards ceremony given that he is suspended from the GFF?
The GFF is also faced with the failure of its senior leagues and farfetched developmental plans plucked from first world nations.
The word perspective seems to be lost in translation.
To compound matters there is a lack of structured youth programmes and the dormancy of associations such as the GFA, Women’s, UDFA, Coaches, Bartica, Futsal and Beach Football just to name few.
And what of the abject failure that is the Academy Training Centre and the embarrassing episode of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) not being able to compete at the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Caribbean Club Shield due to financial constraints?
The GFF also is yet to explain the suspension of two referees for their participation in a street football tournament that does not fall under the GFF’s jurisdiction.
For a team elected on the slogan of integrity, ruling with an iron fist comes naturally.
For too long, mediocrity has become the currency of the day, a legal tender that the GFF continues to circulate at an alarming rate.
It is sad and simply absurd that an awards ceremony was hosted when local football is in the doldrums and with no respite in sight. But that is routine in Guyana, failure is often heralded!
The guests of the gala were obviously the administrators and executives of the clubs and associations, the ones who possess a vote for future endeavours and favours. Maybe the campaign season has started.
The definition and meaning of the word CLUB has spiraled into the realm of individuals, rulers and self-proclaimed owners.
Can anything better be expected from an administration which is focused on photo opportunities and publicity, while players suffer?
Myopic can’t begin to describe our football leaders; they are simply blind to the situation and can’t fathom a plan to remedy the undesired environment.
Government funding and FIFA generosity is the GFF’s developmental plan. Who says Guyana doesn’t have opportunists?
As a timely reminder, the sexual misconduct allegations leveled against members of the referees’ fraternity will not go away anytime soon and many feel that the apathetic attitude displayed by the federation following nearly one year of knowledge of the incidents, conveys a lack of seriousness on its behalf.
The effectiveness of the MeToo Movement and Press Forward, just to name a few born out of the need to stop the sexual abuse of women, has underscored the gravity of such actions and the results of their disapproval of such acts, has created a tsunami in the wider society, sparing no one in its fury.
It therefore means that the outcome of the CoI could be the litmus test for the current administration, as they attempt to move forward.
The recent rebellion by a large percentage of referees is enough proof to suggest that the sport is in real crisis.
To add to that, the lack of support from corporate Guyana and fans are major concerns for a discipline that should be at the pinnacle of sports ranking.
What is certain is that the GFF has a herculean task ahead of them to repair the damage done to the image of the sport, but do they have the personnel to do so is anyone’s guess?
Let’s get back to the task at hand and since this is an award ceremony, we must follow protocol and hand out the accolades. The Best Science Fiction Movie were joint winners between the GFF Elite League and Academy Training Centers.
The Best Foreign Feature was received by the Lady Jaguars Team. The Best Supporting Actor was won by the GFF Technical Director.
On the other hand, the Best Female Actor was secured by the brilliant GFF General Secretary, while the Best Ensemble Cast goes to the GFF Referees Department.However, the big award, the Best Actor accolade goes to the GFF President.