GFF’s Forde promises Waramadong an Academy Training Centre

Guyana Football Federation (GFF) President Wayne Forde has pledged to establish an Academy Training Centre (ATC) in Waramadong to boost hinterland football development, during a visit to the Region 7 community this week.
The President also donated football equipment to the village sports council and offered to organise GFF training for coaches, referees and club administrators for the Region where, because of its difficult terrain and logistical challenges, some areas are not adequately served.

The Federation regularly undertakes outreach, equipment donations, and capacity building activities in hinterland communities that are not covered within the boundaries of the GFF’s nine Regional Associations, and Forde underscored the reason for this, “It is vital for the GFF – and for me, personally – to ensure that all corners of Guyana have access to football development resources and support, as our nine Regional Associations do not cover the entire geography of the country,” Forde said.

“My meetings this week with Waramadong village leaders and the sports council were extremely positive, and we look forward to working together to develop football and to give young people in the community the opportunities they deserve to reach their full potential,” he said.

Forde said the GFF Technical Department will begin work immediately on planning for the creation of a special Academy Training Centre in the village, which boasts one of the most successful school football teams in Guyana.

The GFF’s ATC programme is an elite youth development initiative for boys and girls, which provides professional-standard sessions delivered by trained GFF-affiliated coaches. The programme, which currently only covers the GFF’s Regional Associations, has been hailed by FIFA and Concacaf as a pioneering template for football development in the Caribbean region.

“We are determined to give all talent in Guyana a chance to reach our national teams, no matter where it is based,” said Forde, who also undertook an outreach to Mabaruma in Region 1 earlier this year. “We want to reward proactive and committed football communities. No Guyanese should have to miss out on the GFF’s national football pathway just because of the limitations of the regional association structure we inherited.”

“We know the past year has been challenging for all footballers across Guyana,” he said, “but, thanks to the national vaccination programme, there is now a light at the end of the tunnel. We continue to urge the football community to fully support the vaccination drive, so that we can move out of this pandemic, protect our loved ones, and return to play very soon.”

Copa America: Argentina’s Messi tells Yerry Mina to ‘Dance now’ following shootout win

A fired-up Lionel Messi mocked Yerry Mina, telling him to “Dance now,” as Argentina beat Colombia on penalties on Tuesday to set up a Copa America final against Brazil.

Everton defender Mina missed Colombia’s third penalty as Argentina won 3-2 following a 1-1 draw in normal time in Brasilia.

Mina is known for dancing after scoring goals and pulled out his trademark celebration in the quarterfinal after netting in the shootout win over Uruguay.

However, Mina’s penalty was saved by Emiliano Martinez on Tuesday, with television footage cutting to Messi screaming, “Dance now” at his former Barcelona teammate from the halfway line.

Yerry Mina

With the game played without fans due to the coronavirus pandemic, the footage also picked up Aston Villa goalkeeper Martinez’s attempts to put off Mina in the build-up to the penalty.

“Look, the ball’s not on the spot,” he told the referee as the centre-back stepped up to shoot.

He then shouted at Mina: “You’re nervous, huh? I can tell you’re nervous. I know where you’re going to shoot. Watch and see how I’m going to eat you up. Remember, I’m going to eat you up.”

Luis Diaz’s second-half goal canceled out Lautaro Martinez’s opener for Argentina and took the game to penalties, with no extra time in the Copa America except for in the final.

In the shootout, Martinez also saved from Davinson Sanchez and Edwin Cardona to help the Albiceleste progress to Saturday’s final against Brazil at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro.

“It was a tough game, but we deserved to win,” Messi said. “We had to dig deep at times, but we have [Martinez] and he’s a phenomenon. I’m really happy for him; he deserves it.”

Messi, who is a free agent after his Barcelona contract expired on June 30, has never won a major trophy with Argentina.

He won the U20 World Cup and the Olympic Games with the U23s, but has lost four finals with the senior side, including three in the Copa America.

“It’s the final [against Brazil] that we were all hoping for,” Messi said. “It’s going to be a very even game, a very tough game. We’ve achieved our main goal, which was to reach the final itself. Now we have to try and win it.”

(Story from ESPN FC by Sam Marsden & Moises Llorens)

FIFA-approved Disciplinary Code handed over to GFF Committee

Guyana Football Federation (GFF) President Wayne Forde has presented the FIFA-approved Disciplinary Code to the newly-appointed Chairman of the GFF Disciplinary Committee, enabling the Committee to begin its work with a priority on resolving outstanding cases.

The new composition of the Committee was proposed by the GFF Executive Committee and approved by the GFF Congress in December 2020. It includes Chairman Eusi Anderson, who serves as General Counsel at CSM-DANCO, State Counsel Shawnette Austin and former Guyana Trades Union Congress Vice President Lancelot Baptiste.

The Congress voted to replace the former Disciplinary Committee following a long period of inactivity and a lack of communication that led to a backlog of outstanding disciplinary matters.

During a meeting with the new Chairman on Friday last, GFF President Wayne Forde underlined the urgent need to address and resolve the list of outstanding cases as soon as possible.

“It is vital that the new Disciplinary Committee moves swiftly to provide clarity on matters that have remained unresolved for far too long,” President Forde said. “We look forward to seeing progress on those issues as we work to enhance the governance and reputation of football. The Executive Committee has every confidence that the new, highly-qualified members of the Committee will act with integrity and professionalism in the interests of good governance.”

The GFF Disciplinary Committee is one of three independent judicial bodies within the framework of football governance, alongside the Ethics Committee and the Appeal Committee. It examines and passes judgement on all disciplinary matters relating to GFF members, affiliates, officials, players, clubs, intermediaries and match agents.

“I am humbled by this appointment as the Chairperson of the Disciplinary Committee of the Guyana Football Federation. I look forward to working with the football fraternity in Guyana, our partners in the Caribbean and our partners globally to improve the circumstances of football in Guyana,” Anderson said.

“Undoubtedly there will be challenges, undoubtedly there will be opportunities, but my resolve remains to bring the best of my skills, ability and time to bear in this new dispensation. I look forward to serving everyone in football and working with the local fraternity to build strong strategic partnerships for the overall improvement of football.”

GFF distances self from ‘Halendino Sports’ Trials

Following the announcement of an entity, ‘Halendino Sports’, that it would be hosting trials for young athletes in the disciplines of cricket, basketball and football, the Guyana Football Federation(GFF) has distanced itself from the event.

A release to the media read; “The Guyana Football Federation (GFF) takes note of the recent announcement by an entity called Halendino Sports, as covered in the Kaieteur News article “Halendino Sports to host trials” on January 14, 2021.”

The ‘Haledino Sports’ poster advertising trials for young athletes

“The GFF would like to make it clear to all members of the football community that Halendino Sports is not affiliated to the Federation and this activity has not been approved or sanctioned by the Federation. As such, no registered member of the Federation is authorised to participate in this activity”.

It further read; “Under the GFF Constitution, and in the interests of good governance, player safety and professional standards, GFF members are only authorised to participate in officially sanctioned events. Any participation in unsanctioned activities may result in punitive action, including suspension”.

The GFF also cautioned that at this time, any on field activity must be reviewed and approved by the National COVID-19 Task Force before permission is granted by the Federation.

They concluded; “GFF urges the football community to continue to follow and obey the COVID-19 regulations and protocols as ordered by the Government of Guyana to protect the health and wellbeing of the general populace during the pandemic”.

Golden Jaguars first Fitness Tests a success

The Guyana Senior Men’s National Team, the Golden Jaguars, moved a step closer to the full resumption of training on Sunday with the first wave of physical evaluations of players taking place at the Guyana Football Federation National Training Centre in Providence.

Some of the locally based Golden Jaguars’ players during their drills.

The fitness tests provide important information for the coaching staff and will inform individual and squad training regimes in the run up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers in March. The evaluation, conducted over two days with different cohorts of players, follows testing of the domestic-based squad and backroom staff for the COVID-19 virus this week as part of protocols put in place under the UEFA Assisted 100-day “Bounceback” programme.

The National COVID-19 Task Force has granted permission for training to resume as long as strict measures are in place to defend against the spread of the virus.

“Today’s rigorous tests give our coaches a clear idea of the fitness levels of individual players and what we need to work on to ensure the squad is in peak condition come March,” said GFF President Wayne Forde. “Considering the lack of competition over the past year, we are pleased to report that the squad is already looking in good shape thanks in part to the individual training plans they were given by the GFF technical team during the lockdown.”

“Going forward, we will be taking every precaution necessary to ensure that the squad and staff remain safe and well during this time, including regular testing for COVID-19. We look forward to the full resumption of training in the coming days, as long as conditions allow, and remain ready to take any action required if the pandemic enters another difficult phase.”

GFF Fitness Coach Wilson Toledo and Golden Jaguars’ Assistant Coach Charles Pollard oversaw the fitness evaluations on Sunday, with a total of 25 players going through their paces.

Guyana has been drawn in Group F with Trinidad and Tobago, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas for the Concacaf regional qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which takes place in Qatar. The Golden Jaguars will kick off their delayed campaign away against Trinidad and Tobago on March 25th. The winner of the group will proceed to the second of three qualification rounds.

Golden Jaguars squad & staff undergo COVID-19 testing

Following the green light from the Covid-19 Task Force for the resumption of national team (Golden Jaguars) training, a local-based squad of 32 players were selected for initial training and the results from their tests are pending.

The Guyana Football Federation also tested staff for the COVID-19 virus ahead of the scheduled resumption of training for the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers in March and June and the Concacaf Gold Cup in July.

The tests, conducted at the GFF National Training Centre in Providence this week, and is expected to pave the way for the safe and responsible return of competitive domestic and international football.

The GFF, supported by medical professionals from the Ministry of Health, tested 32 players who – once given the all clear – will then be free to participate in initial physical evaluations, scheduled for Saturday, January 9th and Sunday, January 10th at the National Training Centre.

Once those evaluations are complete, the squad will commence training under strict health and safety protocols. Ten members of the national team backroom staff were also tested.

“This is an exciting moment for the players and staff as we make progress in implementing our 100-day ‘Bounceback’ plan, following our engagement with the UEFA Assist programme,” said GFF President Wayne Forde. “We are extremely grateful for the support and guidance of the National COVID-19 Task Force in approving our plans and the Ministry of Health in conducting these tests. We are taking every possible step to provide a COVID-secure environment so that the squad and staff remain safe and well during training.”
“With several important fixtures on the horizon, it is important for us to commence our preparations as soon as possible, as long as conditions allow, to give Guyana the best chance of success in the 2020 FIFA World Cup qualifiers in March and June, followed by our historic return to the Concacaf Gold Cup stage in July.”

The national squad will be split into two groups of 16 for its physical evaluation on Saturday and Sunday, with weekly COVID-19 tests planned to monitor the wellbeing of the group as it progresses through its training schedule.

“I would like to reinforce the importance of testing for the safety of everyone. All of the players were present without any absences, which proves that they are aware of this issue. They represent the nation. We hope that the results are good and that we can continue our work,” said Golden Jaguars Head Coach Marcio Maximo.

‘Always believe in yourself & work hard to achieve your dreams’ urges Curtez Kellman

Considered one of the brightest youngsters in Guyana’s footballing fraternity, Curtez Kellman has always been dedicated, hardworking and humble in his growth. 

Now 22-years-old and well aware of what it takes to succeed, Curtez firmly believes in this quote by track and field legend Jesse Owens; “”We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, discipline, and effort.”

In an exclusive sit-down with The 592 Dugout, the outspoken footballer shared his journey thus far, a fascinating story of positivity and discipline. 

Curtez Kellman after his International Debut against Indonesia in 2017

Kellman who made his international debut for the Golden Jaguars back in 2017 at just 19-years-old in a friendly against Indonesia revealed that football was not his first love; “I started playing football as a teenager, I was already 13 or 14-years-old. The first sport I loved to play was cricket, I always used to prefer cricket over football”.

However, as he got into ‘Jogo Bonito’, the ‘Beautiful Game’, his preference quickly changed; “I believe I was meant to play football, it was always in my genes because my dad used to play and many other family members. I eventually joined the Georgetown Football Club (GFC) in 2014 and that’s where my football journey all started”.

The persons that he credits with his development are no strangers to Guyanese football; “After Vurlon Mills and Faizal Khan took over at GFC after the death of Coach Peter Lashley, under their guidance I quickly developed into the player I am today”. 

The guidance of Mills and Khan along with the support of his mother, father and many other relatives has meant alot to the youngster.

Mills who has been one of Guyana’s best footballers until his recent retirement from international duty has always been Kellman’s inspiration. “I have always looked up to Vurlon Mills due to the fact that he’s disciplined and gives good advice. He’s a mentor and has always been with me helping to ensure that I make good decisions. He has played a pivotal role in my development in the sport”. 

Curtez who admires the football of Sergio Busquets and Paul Pogba has played numerous positions in his career thus far and spoke about his role in football; “I’m a utility player but my preferred position is that of a Defensive Center Midfielder, I’m more of a player to break up plays, make passes going forward and also in keeping possession”.

Reflecting on his first call up to the Golden Jaguars, Guyana’s National team, Kellman revealed that it was a strange experience; “I first got called up to the National team at age 17 against the Canada U-23 side in 2016. Being the youngest in the camp was an odd feeling because I was not accustomed to being with more mature players, but gradually practicing with them I gained more confidence and I got used to it. It’s always an honour to represent your country and I want to continue working hard, to be in the best shape and the best of my ability so that I can be a main call up for the national side, that requires consistency which I always strive for”.

Presently, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Kellman who was on a scholarship to the Eastern Florida State College explained that budget cuts caused the College not to have a football program anymore which meant he was out of a scholarship. However, as good fortune would have it he was offered another scholarship from Daytona State College which he accepted with pride.

“I’ve gained a full scholarship from Daytona State and I will be completing my associates degree there, I have one more semester to do so. On the professional side of things I’m fully focused and I think this is the right opportunity now for me to be in a professional environment. I’m fully confident that I can and will succeed at the next level with the attributes I possess, the discipline that I have is key”.

Looking at the future, Curtez is full of ambition; “I’m working on getting a few tryouts with some professional teams and hopefully everything works out in my favour. I have realized that having a certified agent is very important and that’s what I’m currently working on. I don’t want to divulge any details as yet because it is not confirmed, but the agent that I’m in talks with had a professional career in the USA Major League Soccer (MLS) and he currently works with a lot of the MLS players”.

In a resounding statement, Kellman spoke of where he came from; “I grew up in East Ruimveldt and when people hear about that area, they always view it as a ‘bad’ area but we have a lot of good that comes out of our community and I am one of them. It is because of that perception of my community, I want people to look up at me as an inspiration to do good things and as a mentor”. 

“In life you will always face challenges and that’s reality but it always depends on how you face them as an individual”. 

Speaking directly to any youngster who has ambitions in sports, Kellman dropped this gem of advice; “Youths once you have aspired to do something, focus on following your dreams, do not let anyone tell you that you can’t do it or that you can’t make it. Always believe in yourself and work hard to achieve your goals”.