CONCACAF Project Director Howard McIntosh yesterday said that infrastructure development is fundamental to the advancement of football locally adding that the partnership between the GFF and the Government of Guyana is also essential for the discipline’s growth.
These comments were uttered yesterday by the Jamaica national during a visit to the Homestretch Avenue location as a part of his two-day tour of Guyana.
McIntosh said, “What this [infrastructure development] can do to change sport generally and football in particular in Guyana is infinitesimal. Grassroots development, youth football development for boys and girls and of course the Elite Football Development in terms of training pitches. I talked to the president about what happens as you are in the rainforest and what it means to have your own facility. When you have your own facility means you govern your own training time, it means you can have grassroots development going on in an ongoing basis.”
He added, “So I am really happy to be here, to see the progress and happy to see the partnership that exists now between the federation and government of Guyana. Without that type of partnership, football cannot truly develop. Partnership is the key word. Once again I am very happy with the progress and looking forward to not only have a discussion but coming and playing on the pitch as soon as possible.”
On January 8th 2019, the Government of Guyana signed a Memorandum of Understanding [MOU] with the GFF for a 25-year lease of 7.3 acres of land to construct a football facility at Durban Park, Georgetown.
The proposed facility, which will be known as the ‘GFF Durban Park Football Complex’, is expected to accommodate an international quality full size pitch, two mini-pitches and a new headquarters for the GFF.
According to McIntosh, “This type of development must lead to more returns in terms of football and in terms of sports general. I think the Director of Sport and the President have already indicated the possibilities….There is nothing like seeing the manifestation of those possibilities become a reality such as the performance in the Nations League, such as the performance of your girls as well and of course the qualification to the Gold Cup.”
Director of Sports Christopher Jones said, “A commitment was made by the Government of Guyana and that commitment was fulfilled. The government of Guyana is only too pleased to lend support to the development of football and we have recognized as all and sundry in the world over has recently saw that when you make an investment in sport, you get returns and as such, Guyana has now qualified [to the Gold Cup] and especially under your presidency Mr. Forde.”
He further added, “We will continue to lend support to make lands available to the various associations and federations once those lands are available to them. Of course it speaks to the capacity of the federations and associations to build on those lands once they acquire the lands. The GFF has demonstrated its ability, of course with its parent body CONCACAF or so forth, to get the necessary resources to build, hence the acquisition of the land here for 25 years. The Guyana Hockey Board as well would have signaled same and their international body would have signaled their intention to lend support to build their facility, hence they too would have received similar.”
“It’s all part of the Government’s commitment and we will continue to meet those requirements once the lands are available to the various federations and associations which in turn would lend support to the overall objective of the administration to bring sport of all disciplines up to an international standard providing the facilities for the athletes”, he added.
Also, GFF President Forde, said , “The purpose of McIntosh’s visit here is to convey to all of Guyana, President Montagliani’s warm wishes and congratulate us for our success at the CONCACAF Nations League and our qualification for the CONCACAF Gold Cup. In addition to that to get an update on some of the activities that are taking place in Guyana and some of the projects that we are working on and on the drawing board. Howard has remained very integral in providing guidance to the GFF in terms of how we prioritize our activities with some of the projects that we have been applying for. He has been behind the scene giving us as much support as we need from time to time.”
According to Forde, the acquisition of the land occurred following a meeting between FIFA President Gianni Infantino and President David Granger, adding that the GFF formulated its conceptual designs for the area, which found favor with the administration.
He declared, “We see this as an integral part in the overall development of the sport. We all know that infrastructure and facilities have been a challenge not just for football but many other sporting disciplines over the years and its very timely and in keeping with the commitment that this government has made and surely delivering on that we now have a plot of land that we will move very rapidly in developing over the couple of years.”