The new leadership of the Guyana Football Federation Inc. (GFF) has transformed the image and reputation of Guyana in the world of football governance, FIFA’s Director of Member Associations and Development for the Caribbean and Africa said in an interview at the end of a two-day visit to Guyana.
And, in a sign of confidence in the progress the GFF has made since November 2015, FIFA Director VeronMosengo-Omba said FIFA President Gianni Infantino was likely to also visit Guyana.
“Since he (GFF President Wayne Forde) was elected, he gives a different image of the Guyana Football Association than in the past,” said Mosengo-Omba, who is responsible for overseeing the administration and growth of football in the region.
“I can say that the (FIFA) President, Gianni Infantino, I think, will soon visit Guyana,” Mosengo Omba said. “We are confident in him (GFF President Forde) because of what he is doing now, when he started doing it – less than two years – this is giving us confidence. That is why I am here also, because we are convinced of that. I met his Executive (Committee) yesterday – all of them, they are working like one single person: this, for me, is the mark of confidence.”
The GFF Executive Committee and administration is working to restore credibility and trust to football in Guyana through a programme of sustained football development and governance reform.
This month, the GFF launched a nationwide network of 13 GFF-Scotiabank Academy Training Centres, managed by nine full-time GFF Technical Development Officers and 14 GFF Youth Development Coaches, in an effort to discover and better develop more talented boys and girls from different regions.
“I came to pay a courtesy visit to the GFF President and his Executive and to witness the good job that they start doing here,” he said.
Mosengo-Omba said he had been impressed with the popularity of football in Guyana, and that it could soon become the number one sport in the country.
“Everywhere we are crossing the city of Georgetown, even on the small pitch: people are playing football,” he said. “Even the roundabouts, they are playing football.”
The success of the Stag Elite League and the GFF-NAMILCO Thunderbolt Flour Power National Under-17 League, and the establishment of a GFF women’s football development league have all contributed to growing interest in the sport. The GFF-Scotiabank Academy Training Centres will also boost interest in the sport through weekly grassroots sessions for young boys and girls aged 5-11.
“This is, for me, the impression I have to leave this country: that it is the country of football, and soon we will beat cricket,” Mosengo-Omba said. “Maybe it is already done, in terms of popularity, of course.” (GFF)