In May 2016, the National Milling Company of Guyana (NAMILCO), a subsidiary of Seaboard Overseas and Trading Group and parent company Seaboard Corp., made a bold financial commitment to the Guyana Football Federation (GFF), the Guyanese people, and the future of soccer in that country. The sponsorship equates to approximately US $24,000 per year.
To date, NAMILCO is the only private enterprise to partner with GFF to fully sponsor a nationwide youth football (soccer) program in Guyana. The partnership provides financial support and equipment for an Under 17 Football League and offers participation from nine regional Football Associations covering all of Guyana.
The GFF-NAMILCO Thunderbolt Flour Power National Under-17 League will cover most of the 10 regions in Guyana, reaching 90% of the population and giving soccer fans living outside the city something to cheer about. NAMILCO’s current one-year pledge makes possible weekly games, and so far since beginning play in June, media exposure has been widespread.
Football is the most prominent sport in Guyana. The new league will contribute to youth development and the training of future football stars locally and internationally.
“NAMILCO is proud to play a part in developing youth through sports, education and nutrition,” said the company’s Managing Director Bert Sukhai. “As corporate citizens of Guyana, our hope is that this program positively impacts their lives and helps play an important role in their path to success.”
The sponsorship showcases NAMILCO and its flagship Thunderbolt®™ Flour brand, while also dovetailing with other community development efforts and infrastructure improvement projects.
“These games provide wholesome, entertaining, family friendly, community-based competition,” added Sukhai. “Employees and parents have an opportunity to engage in the cultivation of Guyana’s emerging leaders too.”
Recently, Howard McIntosh, FIFA’s Regional Development Officer, completed a visit to Guyana and gave his blessing to the GFF-NAMILCO Thunderbolt Flour Power National Under-17 League during the opening of a Region 9 game in Lethem.FIFA is the governing body of GFF.
While NAMILCO has lent its support to soccer in the past, GFF President Wayne Forde is thankful for the shift of sponsorship to youth at the junior level. During McIntosh’s visit, Forde stated “we have a moral obligation to our young people, as they are the harvest of our present and the seeds of our future.” Forde hopes the NAMILCO partnership will act as a catalyst for other private sector investment in youth football in Guyana.