The Guyana Football Federation (GFF), in collaboration with ANSA McAL through their Always and ICool brands, has launched the GFF-Always women’s development league on Friday at the Sleep Inn International hotel on Brickdam.Present at the launch yesterday were Minister Valerie Garrido-Lowe of the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs (2nd right), GFF President Wayne Forde, Women’s Football Association’s Andrea Johnson (right). ANSA McAL Business Unit head Padma Kunjbeharry (2nd left) sits with Lady Jags’ Lakeisha Pearson and other squad members at the official launchIn an effort to provide a consistent platform for women to play football and develop their football skills, the tournament will feature 49 teams at seven-a-side, playing over 216 matches in a round-robin /knock -out format from October 27.The league will be played nationwide, with areas such as Moruca, Berbice, Linden, Rupununi, Mahdia and Lethem being much involved in the action.Minister Valerie Garrido-Lowe of the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, who attended the launch and is a patron of women’s football in Guyana, lauded the effort of the federation.“I applaud the GFF for this major effort. This is the second time this league is being played, and encouraging women’s football is very important. At the recently concluded Heritage Sports, the most exciting moment of the games was the women’s football final,” Minister Garrido-Lowe said.Also present at the ceremony was ANSA McAL Business Unit head Padma Kunjbeharry, who told the gathering, “ANSA McAL is always proud to be a part of sport. This launch is at a perfect time, because just yesterday (Thursday) was the International Day of the Girl Child, and we believe that women’s involvement in sports is very important. The company (ANSA McAL) will be sponsoring through our ICool brand in addition to the title brand Always, so the ladies will be kept hydrated throughout the matches.”Meanwhile, GFF President Wayne Forde opined that every female that has an interest in playing football should be given the opportunity to play, and that is one of the key objectives of the GFF. He also stated that the Always League will be used as a social platform to help address issues affecting women as well.