THE Guyana Football Federation (GFF) has funded and delivered a 19-seater minibus for use by the Rupununi Football Association (RFA) to enable enhanced and affordable participation in football competitions and development programmes across the remote hinterland of Region 9.
The Toyota Hiace bus, the first large-group transportation vehicle provided to a regional football association in the 120-year history of the GFF, will create immediate and considerable cost-savings and remove a significant barrier for the participation in football among remote communities.
“We have to make it possible for football to be played more often and in more places across this beautiful country. In order to achieve this, It is important that every young boy and girl must have equal access to the game and its developmental resources,” said GFF president Wayne Forde.
The bus, funded through the GFF’s ground-breaking Members Financial Assistance Programme (M-FAP), was handed over to the RFA at a ceremony in St. Ignatius on Saturday, followed by matches involving male and female players from the region.
“With the introduction of the M-FAP programme in 2020, the GFF is now able to provide unprecedented support to the entire fraternity,” Forde said.
According to Forde, “The RFA Executive Committee has delivered remarkable success despite the unique challenges the geography of the region poses. This minibus will now allow the RFA to access every corner of the region, play more games, scout more talent. This is one additional step in our determined effort to improve hinterland football by creating a clear pathway to the national teams of the GFF.”
RFA president, Rayan Farias, said the bus would vastly accelerate his organisation’s efforts in developing football across the Rupununi and praised the GFF for the creation of the M-FAP initiative, which is modelled on FIFA’s financial distribution model for supporting its members.
“Back in 2015, when the football mantle was taken up under the administration of Mr. Wayne Forde, today’s reality was just a dream,” said Farias. “It is indeed an honour to express our gratitude to the Guyana Football Federation for their continuous support. We want to thank the Federation for allowing this for our youth and senior players.”
The Rupununi, on the southern border with Brazil, has a renowned passion for football, with girls and boys taking up the beautiful game from an early age and community male and female teams often embarking on long, arduous journeys to compete against rival villages.