Kudos to local footballers

Please allow me to publicly congratulate members of the Cayman Islands football fraternity for a job well done in completing two of their senior national tournaments and a junior national competition for the season, while being almost complete with the other contests.

I witnessed the final match in the CIFA Foster’s League between Western Union and Scholars International at the Ed Bush Stadium (in May) and was heartened with media reports on the game.

I am pleased with the news reports on the match because it is important that all of Cayman gets to know of the determination of our footballers who are continuing their various competitions despite the hardship endured by players on a personal and club along with the Association.

After observing the damage done to football training, playing, administration and spectator accommodation facilities across Grand Cayman following the hurricane, it was thought by many that no competitions would be possible in 2005. But these sports people rose to the challenge and proved that opinion wrong.

In the league final on the Discovery Day holiday, our enthusiastic footballers pitted their skills against each other for the full regular time of the game, then produced more energy for overtime play until Western Union emerged the winner. All of this was done on a hard dirt field without a blade of grass.

We should take our hats off not only to Western Union but to every player, club, supporter and the Cayman Islands Football Association for their splendid response to the distress caused by Hurricane Ivan.

CIFA president Jeffrey Webb pointed out that the clubs in the competition played until the two teams reached the final despite the hardship of having no changing rooms, lights or benches. His point was that at the end of the day these footballers require simply a field and two goal posts to get a game going.

Mr. Webb’s statement proved itself true again when our youngsters took to the field for the Under-14 final and the senior lads came out for the FA Cup final at the George Town Annex.

I am certain there were more than 1,000 fans, including myself, enjoying those two games, and although some teams lost and others won, we were all grateful for such entertainment being available despite the disaster of the hurricane.

All those involved in football and its Association provide an outstanding example of the resilient spirit of the Cayman Islands.

O’Neil Gifford

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