North Pakraimas football tournament gets underway

– govt reaffirms commitment to development of hinterland sports

DPI, Guyana, Sunday, August 25, 2019

The North Pakaraimas football tournament for 2019 is underway at Kamana, Region 8. The annual tournament, with 21 participating teams from 12 villages, features 12 men’s teams and 9 women’s teams vying for supremacy.

Participating villages include Itabac, Kopinang, Chenapau, Kato, Paramakatoi, Mountain Foot, Bamboo Creek, Monkey Mountain, Kurukubaru, Maikwak, Kanapang and host village Kamana.

The highly anticipated tournament saw some teams travelling for days to be a part of the region’s biggest sports tournament.

Declaring an official start to the games was Minister of Social Cohesion, with responsibility for Culture, Youth and Sport, Hon. Dr. George Norton and Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs and Patron for women’s football in Guyana, Hon. Valerie Garrido-Lowe. Also present was FIFA Technical Consultant for the Caribbean Region Lenny Blake.

In her remarks, Minister Garrid0-Lowe reiterated the government’s commitment to investing in hinterland sports. She highlighted that the Coalition Government began supporting the games back in 2017 and began making budgetary allocations of $1Million from the National Budgets to ensure that the games are a reality each year.

“Your home is the hinterland … we have to make sure that the opportunities reach you and that is what we are doing as a government,” Minister Garrido-Lowe stated.

Minister Norton said that while the games are in the early stages, he envisions it being even bigger than that of the Upper Mazaruni Games which is held in Region 7.

“I want to assure you that we will continue to work along with the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples Affairs, with the Ministry of Communities, with the Department of Sport and Culture to improve the conditions so that you can a truly impressive tournament. One that matches anything that is produced here in Guyana.”

Minister Norton congratulated the teams for making the effort to make games a reality and urged them to have competitive but clean fun while they battle for the title.

FIFA Technical Consultant Lenny Blake, who will be spending three days in the village observing the games, said that he will be keeping a keen eye on the action taking place. He noted that the fact that many persons travelled miles by trail demonstrates their passion for the game of football. According to Blake, he will be taking their stories back to FIFA so that they can learn of what is taking place in Guyana’s hinterland.

Regional Chairman, Bonaventure Fredericks and Toshao of Kamana both acknowledged the government for their continued support towards the development of hinterland sports.

Additionally, the uniforms and gear of the participating teams were provided by FIFA.  The tournament wraps up August 30.

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