North Pakaraima Football tournament

Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Valerie Garrido-Lowe on Sunday declared opened the North Pakaraima’s Football tournament being hosted by Paramakatoi Village, Region 8.

This is the first time officials from the Government and the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) is witnessing action in the twenty-team male and female football competition which has been ongoing for close to fifteen years.

Six female and fourteen male teams are participating in this year’s competition.

Teams are drawn from Paramakatoi, Kopinang, Tuseneng, Monkey Mountain, Kanapang, Kurukubaru, Chuing Mouth, Chenapou, Bamboo Creek, Kato, Itabac and Maikwak.

Minister Garrido-Lowe during her address pledged the Ministry’s commitment to provide support for the tournament since she is pleased with the commitment shown by villages to preserve this competition over the years.

“You were waiting on word as to when to travel so when you were told to travel you were ready and Mr. President this is how dedicated and devoted the people are in these communities. This is how the levels of football influences our people that they walk for distances fetching their pots and pans and hammocks and come and tie them up and be here for days and play the best games they can play”.

Region eight according to Minister Garrido-Lowe possesses a rich and unique indigenous talent that must be showcased around the country the reason for her and the head of the local football fraternity attending the tournament.

Meanwhile, GFF President Wayne Forde is the first sitting president to attend the tournament. He has committed to working with the Ministry to develop football in the hinterland, while also commending Minister Garrido-Lowe for her commitment and passion for football and football development.

“I think that today represents a momentous occasion for the people and for football in Paramakatoi. The hard working, committed Minister Valerie Garrido-Lowe is responsible for me being here, she is persistent and passionate about football and the development of the indigenous peoples and we as a federation see this as a glorious opportunity to working in partnership with her”.

He added that we have done tremendous work in the development and expansion of football in the hinterland communities since “for the first time we have a female under 17 team that has a total of seven players from the indigenous communities and five indigenous  under 15 players who recently returned from and we at the federation understand that we would never develop football in Guyana unless we can tap into the exceptional talent that exist within these communities so you have a partner with you”.

He noted that the stakes are also high since teams emerging winners of the male and female competitions will be given the opportunity to compete in a tournament in Georgetown.

The Ministry donated trophies for the winning teams, while the GFF donated a quantity of football gear to participating teams.

Following the opening ceremony Kato’s Female team booked a place in the finals after defeating Chenapou 1-nil in the tournament’s opener.

Other teams to record victory were Kanapang Female Team, Chenapou, and Kurukubaru who upset home team Paramakatoi in its opening bid.

Matches continue on Wednesday with the third place play off and the finals of both competitions.