President of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF), Wayne Forde, declared open the regional office of the Rupununi Football Association (RFA) on Thursday 25th January 2018.
The opening followed an official ceremony held at the 107 Middle Street, Lethem location attended by, among others, the community’s Regional Chairman, Brian Allicock; Mayor, Carlton Beckles and Acting RFA President, Curtis Buckley. “The RFA has done exceptionally well in the eyes of the GFF. The GFF has supported this association in every possible way we can.
Everything that I do, everything that President Grant and his team do in the RFA, every project that the Mayor does and every funding and logistical support that the Chairman brings is a fine example of what is possible when the right people come together for the right reasons,” said Forde in his remarks at the opening ceremony. While congratulating the RFA on a monumental step, Forde emphasized the importance of increased administrative capacity to realize the development of football in the region and affirmed the GFF’s continued support: “There is no doubt in my mind about the talent here but what I do know as a football administrator is unless you have the administrative machinery supporting and maintaining that talent, that is exactly where it will remain, as talent.
Guyana needs to really take off in a consistent path of development. We have 13 GFF-Scotiabank Academy Training Centres (ATCs) across Guyana and four of them are in the Rupununi. The GFF is committed to the development of football in Guyana and stands ready to provide necessary support. I am pleased, honoured and privileged to be a part of a movement that will, in my opinion in the not too distant future, produce players from this region that can go all the way to professional football in Europe and further.” For his part, Acting RFA President, Buckley, highlighted some of the RFA’s achievements since its election on October 30, 2015; chief among them, the expansion of the membership and the number of national players emerging from the region: “Initially, we started with only five clubs. Despite the negatives and positives, today we stand with 17 clubs. President: Wayne Forde General Secretary. I thought the furthest club that’s a part of the RFA would’ve been the Titan Warriors located in Aishalton Village, but the furthest club is the GoGetters from Mahdia, Region 8. I must recognize our 30 footballers that were chosen for the national camp; eight senior females, eight Under-17 males, eight Under-15 males and six Under-13 males.
As a result, three of the Under15 males went on to represent us at the international level. They were Kenneth Salvador from Moco Moco FC, Orville Daniels from Paiwomak Warriors in Annai and Wayne Da Silva from Saint Ignatius FC. Within our two years we have promoted youth football and have participated in national tournaments including the Frank Watson U15 and the NAMILCO tournaments respectively.” Mayor Beckles reflected on his migration to the Region while reminding the audience of the talent present: “In 2001 I got a call from the then General Secretary of the GFF to referee a game in the Rupununi. When I got here they were other referees here before me. I did a comprehensive report on the talent they have here and recommended that the Rupununi should be the ‘Mecca’ of women’s football in Guyana. Coming out of that report, the next year Guyana was represented in Antigua by no fewer than nine females from the Rupununi including the vice-captain. There was no turning back in representation of the Rupununi.” Meanwhile, Regional Chairman, Allicock, said he was proud of the strides made by the region in football development: “Having this office in the RFA tells us that there is development taking place and more has to come yet. We have to go a far way.
We have to be a proud people from the region, because I remember the Haiti game where the Daniels boy made Guyana win that match. I feel so proud about these youngsters. I remember when our boys had to play against other regions (Digicel School Championship), there was such a crowd, I can tell you. My friends were there at Leonora and they said that they never saw such a crowd. They were two Hinterland teams playing and one was from Region 9. We felt so good that we can bring out the crowd and display such football talent. I remember the GFF President saying that he’s going to go about and select players because he knows that we have great talent.” The opening ceremony of the office, which will serve as a hub for football administration in the region, was followed by the official ribbon cutting and tour of the building. The occasion was commemorated with two novelty matches played at the Wadapna Community Centre Ground. The first match featured an U15 bout between the Guyana Rush Saints FC and Tabatinga FC from Brazil. Tabatinga FC won 2 goals to nil. The Tabantinga FC has the highest concentration of ATC players in the region. The second match was a master’s game between Guyana’s President’s XI and Brazil’s Veterans, Bonfim XI. Bonfim XI won 1 goal to nil.