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GFF celebrates first Black international footballer

Andrew Watson (Photo: GFF)

The Guyana Football Federation (GFF) paid tribute on Tuesday to the legacy of Guyana-born footballer Andrew Watson, who was born on May 24 in 1856 and is widely credited as being the first black player to perform at international level, the first professional black footballer and the first black football administrator.

Watson was born to a Guyanese mother and a Scottish plantation owner. He left Guyana as a child to study in northern England and London before attending the University of Glasgow in Scotland.

The football pioneer played and administrated for several clubs in England and Scotland, including Scotland’s biggest club at the time Queen’s Park – helping them to win two Scottish Cup titles in 1881 and 1882.

He was capped three times by Scotland, twice as captain, including a 6-1 victory over England in 1881, which remains a record home defeat for the Three Lions, and a 5-1 win over Wales.

“We salute the memory of this incredible son of the soil,” said GFF President Wayne Forde. “Andrew Watson’s pioneering achievements on the field of play and in his professional life provide an inspirational example for all of us – they remind us that anything is possible through hard work and dedication.”

“We are proud to share this legacy with our partners at the Scottish Football Association (SFA), and look forward to working together to create a permanent and meaningful platform of initiatives in honour of this true Guyanese – and Scottish - legend,” Forde added.

Watson passed away at the age of 64 in London on March 8, 1921.

As part of an ongoing capacity building partnership, under the UEFA Assist banner, the SFA has conducted an online coaching programme for GFF technical staff and coaches.


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