'Invest in sports and reduce crime'
-Says GFF President Klass in end-of-year message
Stabroek News
December 24, 2006

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God has been good to the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) and Guyana has been doing a great job with all of our teams and football in general. At the latest International Football Federation's (FIFA)/ Coco Cola ranking we now stand tall at 100.

To God be all the glory for what he has done; the people he has used to bless us and for what he is still doing.

I would be the first person to confess that our football has not arrived and there is much more yet to be done. The involvement of corporate Guyana, the government, and the business community at large cannot be over emphasized.

We need the opportunities and the means like our sister sport cricket and by God's grace, we will deliver. It has been a very difficult road so far but it has worked together for our good.

Our continued focus on youth and youth development, school and women football are beginning to bear fruit. But much more needs to be done regarding a formal school league properly run and the fuelling the re-introduction of sports in all schools. The upgrading and maintenance of grounds especially those in communities need to be addressed urgently.

Now that both China and Japan have embassies here in Guyana, access to good quality sports equipment at an affordable price should not be too difficult.

I do look forward to the day as obtains in a number of other countries when every boy and girl in Guyana can have his or her own football gears and equipment.

It can and must be done. We all have a choice of investing in sports and reducing crime in our country.

Austin 'Jack' Warner, Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF), FIFA, the Caribbean Football Union (CFU), and CONCACAF have and are doing their part in a great way for which we are most thankful. We in Guyana need to do our part at all levels as together great things can be achieved. Warner stood with us through it all and is still standing by when all had given up hope. To those footballers, officials and business community who kept the faith I say thanks - thanks to Ken De Abreu.

We have redoubled our efforts during the year in the training, upgrading and developing of our coaches, administrators and referees at every level and this will continue in 2007 since we believe that that forms a vital foundation for our development. To this end a Technical Development Officer was employed by the GFF and we are hoping to employ one such person in each of the Associations over the next few years.

Women's football has taken a turn for the better with the involvement of all the associations and new inputs from the National Association for Women and the various clubs. In 2007, we hope to have women football leagues up and running. It is our intention to expose our women to lots of indoor football to assist in developing their skills at an early stage. Many opportunities for further education for our women footballers are available and we plan to make full use of it during the upcoming year.

Educating the public on the laws of the game and the rules and regulations of football will continue aggressively.

Our referees have been representing us well and their numbers have doubled during the year. We expect that this trend will continue in 2007 so that there would be available to every association adequately trained referees and assistant referees. We do wish therefore again to thank Warner for making instructors available to us. The GFF offices established in the various associations continue to be of great concern to the GFF except for one or two. No real impact has been created since their establishment, a situation that cannot be allowed to continue. We will have to close which failed to deliver in the New Year or employ new persons to run them. Too many persons are interested in competing for positions at elections and after victory at the pools fail to deliver on their commitment and responsibilities. These levels of incompetence, lack of commitment, lack of aptitude for hard work and dedication need to be weaned from our football if we are going to be numbered among the best Federations in the world. Every association and affiliate must be able to function efficiently and together. Club structures need to be addressed and institutionalized.

The level of indiscipline demonstrated by our players and officials both on and off the field continue to be of concern to us. We will therefore with the assistance of our Disciplinary and Appeals Committee continue our efforts in wiping out this trend. Fair Play must always be respected and all things should be done for the Good of the Game.

Discipline does not make you rigid, it makes you resilient. It provides you with shock absorbers for the potholes of life and there will be lots of them. It also enlarges your capacity to sum up courage when life gets tough. G. K. Chesterton once said of Abraham Lincoln: "This great man had once secret vice that was far more unpopular among his followers than the habit of drinking. He had the habit of thinking." Cultivate the company of good thinkers. Solomon says, "He that walketh with wise men shall be wise."

Football and footballers can make a great difference in Guyana as we strive for excellence in our discipline.

In closing permit me to express my sincere thanks to all my colleagues at FIFA, CONCACAF, the CFU, sponsors and all those who have contributed in some way towards the success of 2006 and paving the way for the New Year.

To all of you a blessed Christmas and New Year.