Home-field advantage for Cayman

After years of dreams and frustration, it appears Cayman football is about to get a place to call its own

A home for Cayman football has been the elusive dream of CIFA president Jeffrey Webb for many years. Finally, that goal appears to be more reality than fantasy.

Barcelona jersey

A Barcelona jersey, signed by the Champions League winners, will be up for auction this Saturday at CIFAs World Cup Extravaganza. The live auction will raise funds for CIFA planned 18-acre football facility. Photo: AP

Webb says the association has obtained a 99-year lease from government for $1 per year for 18 acres of land off of Poindexter Road, near Prospect Primary School. Construction is projected to take 10 years. Groundbreaking is scheduled for October of this year. Phase I will encompass office facilities and should be completed by 2007. Phase II will include three international-size playing fields that can also be used as six junior-sized fields. There will also be an on-site dormitory, capable of housing a full national team, Webb says.

‘This has taken a long, long time,’ explained Webb. ‘Football in Cayman has never had a home. For all these years, we have never had a place of our own. It’s been a long, hard process but it’s finally happening. This really is a dream come true.’

Webb believes one of the greatest benefits of the facility will be the introduction of large-scale camps and after-school football programs for Caymanian kids.

‘We have been far too selective with our junior programs in the past. Football needs to be for all children, not just the ones who show obvious talent at an early age. We want all Caymanian kids to be able to get involved with football, regardless of how good they may be. They all deserve a chance. This facility will allow many, many more kids to get involved. As a society, we need to stop investing so much in prison and put more into our children.’

According to Webb, FIFA has committed to delivering two grants totaling US$800,000 to assist with funding the project. Additional money is needed immediately, however, for fill and to prepare the land for construction. CIFA hopes to raise a bundle of cash toward that need this weekend with their World Cup Extravaganza, a live auction with enough memorabilia up for sale to a make footie fan’s head spin.

The fundraiser is set for 7pm this Saturday, 27 May, at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman. Football fans are sure to salivate over the collection of treasures CIFA has collected for the event. Items up for auction Saturday include: A Barcelona jersey autographed by the Champions League winners; World Cup tickets for the final matches on 9 July; Beckham’s #23 jersey signed by Real Madrid team; a Jamaica jersey signed by the national team; ball signed by the Greek national team; ball signed by the Netherlands national team; ball signed by Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz; Vasco da Gama jersey signed by team; Arsenal jersey signed by team. Germany jersey signed by team; Canada jersey signed by team; and many more items.

CIFA chief Jeffrey Web promises an entertaining evening for all. Tickets are $150 and include a cocktail reception and three-course meal. Call Keisha Miller at the CIFA office for more information (949-5775).

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