Kwakwani’s best –  female football players aiming for gold

DPI, GUYANA, Friday, November 17, 2017

The KwaKwani community, Region 10 is well known for various reasons but more particularly for its female football team, the KwaKwani Strikers. This team boasts several excellent footballers that are also currently playing for Guyana’s national team under the Guyana Football Federation (GFF).

(left to right) Minister of Social Cohesion Dr. George Norton with some of the Kwakwani Strikers players Odessa Smith, Jalade Trim and Ashana Williams.

Twelve-year-old Jalade Trim (forward) is one of the players that has been thrust into the limelight particularly for her ‘crazy skills’ with the ball. Jalade explained that at the age of five, she became consumed with playing football, thanks to the coaching of a gentleman by the name of ‘Jimmy’.

“At five-years-old, I used to play football by kicking bottles, brick, anything I could use (as a substitute) until I saw this man named Jimmy who took me and taught me the proper way of playing football,” Jalade said. She noted that after meeting ‘Jimmy’, she became a strong player infused with the will to achieve her goal.

The young footballer has the support of her community, however, her biggest fan is her mother. “My mom’s support feels like the whole of Guyana, I can hear her screaming my name when I am playing, she would even be running around the place telling people that I am her daughter.  I am just so grateful to have her as my mother, she is such a good parent who supports me in everything,” Jalade explained.

She aspires to one day attain the heights of her football idol, Brazilian footballer Neymar. Jalade acknowledges that this dream is not without its challenges. However, she believes with the support of government – through the Minister of Social Cohesion Dr. George Norton, who has responsibility for Youth, Sport and Culture – Kwakwani athletes will flourish locally and internationally.

Sixteen-year-old Ashana Williams (midfielder), who is preparing to write the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) in 2018, said that she fell in love with the sport two years ago. Her father who also coaches Ashana and her teammates, repeatedly advises that a true footballer must at all times possess a passion for the game.

The midfielder said that though football is her favorite sport, she never expected to be a part of the country’s national team and is extremely proud to represent her community and homeland. With the hopes to also become an international footballer, Ashana acknowledges that it will require more than raw talent to achieve this dream. Like Jalade, she believes with support from government and stakeholders this can be possible.

Sixteen-year-old midfielder Ashana Williams with twelve-year-old forward Jalade Trim and fifteen-year-old defender Odessa Smith.

Meanwhile, fifteen-year-old Odessa Smith’s (defender) introduction to the sport came when she saw one of her female friends playing. As Odessa explains, “after I saw her playing football, I started to think that if she can do it then so can I and then her father told me that I have the ability to play.”

With this endorsement, Odessa took to the field and began playing, ably assisted by her friend’s father. However, her quest almost came to a standstill, when her parents declared that the game was not for girls.

Odessa said the disapproval did not take the wind out of her sails. “If a male can play football and my friend can do it, then so can I.” Realising that their daughter was not going to give up on her dream of a career in professional football, her parents soon came became her biggest supporters.

Despite trying to come to grips with her attainment to the current placement in Guyana’s national team, she is grateful for being given the opportunity to represent the country.

The young players, all current students of the Kwakwani Secondary School, have dreams of making big for themselves and their fellow athletes within the Kwakwani community. They all point to the fact that though the community faces many challenges, the love for sport has given residents of Kwakwani a goal to aspire to.

 

By: Neola Damon

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