Football’s world governing body, FIFA, has launched the international bid for the construction of Guyana’s first-ever Goal Project.
At his first press conference in December last year, newly elected president of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF), Wayne Forde, had announced that the international bid will commence in January 2016.
In giving an update on Friday on progress made thus far, Forde informed that the bidding process has started by FIFA, and interested firms have until the end of the month to submit their bids.
According to a newspaper report today by Avenash Ramzan, Forde indicated that several firms have already submitted their bids to the Zurich-based football body, while one of those firms actually paid a site visit to the Providence Community Centre ground where the facility will be constructed. That plot of land, 8.5 acres in size, was acquired by the federation on a 30-year lease.
The first Goal Project is expected to be completed in four years, Forde pointed out back in December. He also revealed that the second Goal Project will be in Linden and the third in Rupununi.
The GFF boss said as soon as the first Goal Project becomes a reality, the GFF will put in an application for a second. At that same press briefing last month, First Vice-president Brigadier Bruce Lovell said while Guyana is yet to have a Goal Project, the ultimate aim is to have one in the jurisdiction of every Member Association.
CONCEPTUAL DESIGN APPROVED
Following a unanimous decision taken by the Forde-led Executive Committee to endorse the project when they assumed office in November last, it was agreed that FIFA will send out an International Tender for contractors for the installation of the artificial turf.
Members of the Executive Committee had met with Marcel Gaskin, Architect of the Conceptual Design for the facility, where it was pointed out the project will be completed in two phases with the first being the installation of the artificial turf.
The second phase will see infrastructure such as stands, lights, beach and futsal training pitches, mini pitches and an administrative centre for the Headquarters of the Federation being establish.
FIFA contracted inspector Dr Stephen Baker visited Guyana on August 25, 2015, and conducted soil testing at Providence where the Englishman looked at the sub-base and at the entire topography and reported back to FIFA on what was needed in order to have the turf installed.
On December 5, Howard McIntosh, FIFA’s Development Officer also met with members of the GFF’s Executive Committee on his visit and conveyed FIFA’s satisfaction with the conceptual design and readiness to move forward with the Goal Project.
Guyana was actually earmarked by FIFA to pioneer its Goal Project with then FIFA President Sepp Blatter making his maiden voyage in 1999 for the turning of the sod at the University of Guyana. However, plans fell through after negotiations did not go well with the then government.
In 2007, under former president Colin Klass, the GFF began work at Orangestein, on the East Bank of Essequibo, for what was supposed to be the location for Guyana’s first Goal Project.
Following Klass’ exit, Franklin Wilson, his Vice-president at the time (2013), had assumed the post of president (ag) and travelled to Zurich where negotiations with FIFA’s Development Committee brokered US$500,000 to be allocated to Guyana to help get the Goal Project off the ground.
Wilson’s effort also failed to see the project start, and then President Christopher Matthias upon taking office, abandoned the plot of land, already owned by the GFF at Orangestein, stating that the site was too remote and sought further negotiations with the Ministry of Sport for land behind the National Track and Field Centre at Leonora.
Things again didn’t materialise, since the then government had offered only a little over three acres of land which FIFA said was inadequate for the Project to materialise.
The new Executive Committee of the GFF however, believes that this project represents a tangible demonstration of a new era of football in Guyana and the change in governance structure to provide material evidence of development commitments by FIFA and the Executive Committee. (This Avenash Ramzan article is published in today’s Guyana Times)