Top football stars from the Golden Jaguars took part in coaching up and coming talent at GFF-Scotiabank Academy Training Centres this weekend, as part of efforts to help young players reach their potential within the new nationwide youth football development programme.
National team goalkeeper Andrew Durant and attacker Vurlon Mills trained boys at the East Coast Demerara Academy Training Centre in Golden Grove, while winger Eon Alleyne visited the Georgetown Academy Training Centre at Tucville Ground, running through drills with under-13 players as the Guyana Football Federation rolls out its national football philosophy.
“You can see the joy in the players, in their faces, in their actions – just before they come and they see the national players here – you know, the excitement,” said Mills, fresh from the Golden Jaguars’ hard-fought draw against Martinique in Linden on 28th March. “I think it’s very important for the national players’ presence to be around for the youths’ development.”
“I enjoy coaching youths, it’s something I have been doing for a while – it improves me as well as an individual and as a developing coach. As I am teaching them, they are teaching me. In the community, we, as national players, have to set the right example because there are a lot of youths who look up to us and look to us for ideas and examples.”
The Guyana Football Federation has created the country’s first nationwide network of 13 GFFScotiabank Academy Training Centres across its nine member associations, delivering free, weekly and professional sessions for boys and girls in order to discover and more effectively develop young talent.
Each association hosts open-door grassroots sessions for boys and girls aged 5-12, as well as elite youth training for specially-selected U13 boys, U15 boys, U17 boys and U17 girls, creating a clear pathway for young players to progress into the national teams and to reach their potential.
“It’s a pleasure working with these kids and I think this programme will benefit these kids in a very good way,” said Alleyne. “In my young, youthful days, we didn’t have such a programme for us to develop and I think it is going to benefit them in a good way in developing their football.”
“It is important for me and many other national players to be here because we can share our experience with the young kids and help them to develop their football so that they could be better players in the future.”
The GFF is focusing on youth development across the country to build solid foundations for future success and the administration is also working to include Guyana’s senior national players in the delivery of its programmes to help to inspire greater participation and engagement.
“Having these guys here with the younger players, it’s such a boost for us by raising their enthusiasm for the game,” said GFF Technical Development Officer for the East Coast Demerara region and national goalkeeping coach Eon DeViera.
“It was such a privilege to have them here to encourage the younger ones and to also work with them – for them to be able to see how these guys could really move with the ball. I think it was such a good thing for us to have them here at the academy.”
GFF grassroots sessions are open to all boys and girls between the ages of 5 and 12 at each of the 13 GFF-Scotiabank Academy Training Centres around the country in Georgetown, East Coast Demerara, West Coast Demerara, Berbice (2), Rupununi (4), East Bank Demerara, Essequibo, Upper Demerara and Bartica.
“There is so much talent out here in Guyana,” said Mills. “Guyana has so much talent that we don’t really recognise until we go into the communities.”
For further information about the programme, please contact the GFF secretariat.