I was truly impressed by fantastic talent shown by the primary school children at the Inter-Primary Football Rally on Saturday 29 January.
Unfortunately the Rally also underlined that CI Football Association priorities are misguidedly placed on the National Mens team rather than on the talented youth and primary school footballers.
Each of the 10 government and private primary schools that played in the Rally have at least three to four excellent players, both male and female; for example, goalkeepers from Prospect Primary and Truth for Youth. The strikers and midfielders from Red Bay, Savannah, Catholic, George Town West Bay and First Baptist and defenders from Catholic and George Town primary schools.
So there is a pool of 30-40 talented primary school footballers that we can either nurture or neglect.
Foolishly, we are neglecting them.
Shame on us and shame on CIFA! These kids deserve better. No one can dispute that these kids are really very good, yet CIFA puts more effort into the struggling National Mens team.
The National Mens team has not been successful in advancing in any of the major competitions that they train for.
As a result, the National Mens team is effectively out of competition for the next two years. Yet they train every day with two experienced Brazilian coaches hired by CIFA.
In the meantime too little emphasis is placed on the youth football where the talent really lies.
The youth footballers are trained mainly by CIFA volunteers or school staff, except East End Primary, which is assisted by one of the Brazilian coaches.
CIFA should make a more concerted effort at a grass-roots program similar to Jamaica and Trinidad to build on the primary school talent from early on.
Remember that this is the same group that we will look at to form the National Mens and Womens teams in a short while.
The depth of Cayman’s football talent clearly lies with the children; not the adults.
The National Mens team have simply not produced the results that justify using so much resources.
Better to concentrate on the youth and primary school football and send the Under 12 and Under 14 National teams away to train and compete.
The Rally was the best display of raw football talent I have seen in years. I would have happily paid the same CI$5 admission for any of those games rather than cheer the National Mens team in vain through another one-sided loss against a Jamaican or Honduran Club team.
Congratulations to all the primary school football teams. Keep up the good work.
CIFA, don’t waste this potential. Success and continuity of the sport will only come from developing the youth football.
Name withheld by request