The Cayman Islands Football Association held its Inaugural World Cup Extravaganza this past Saturday night in the ballroom of the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman.
The event was primarily organized as a major fundraiser towards the building of the CIFA National Football Training Centre on 17.5 Acres of land on Point Dexter Road in Spots Newlands. The gala black tie affair and auction netted over $60,000 which will go towards construction of the facility.
Hundreds of well-wishers made bids for a range of football memorabilia, from an autographed jersey belonging to Brazil’s Ronaldo to Real Madrid’s David Beckham #23 Jersey.
The money raised will be used for laying the ground-work at the 17.5 acres the Association has at Spots where it will be building football training and match facilities making Cayman a participant in a world-wide FIFA Goal project.
‘With the help of FIFA, and events such as the Extravaganza, we will build dormitories; a cafeteria; a gym; three international football fields which can be played as six youth fields; and state-of-the-art accommodation for teams,’ said CIFA President Jeffrey Webb.
He added, ‘For 40 years Cayman Islands Football has dreamed of a home. We have wanted to construct a house on solid ground with solidarity, unity and universality, to make the game better to serve and benefit the children’.
Delivering the welcome address Mr Webb told the gathering that the establishment of the facility will see football in the Cayman Islands leap into another phase of its development for the benefit of young people, other players, officials, fans and administrators.
Mr Webb, who was later that evening awarded for his 22 years of involvement in football locally and internationally, paid tribute to the number of stalwart Caymanians whose contribution over the years helped develop the game in Cayman.
‘I call to mind the likes of Clifton Hunter; Timothy McField, Ed Bush, Frank Coleman, Roy Ebanks, Reynard Moxam, Allan Moore and Lee Ramoon.’
The Goal Project is being applied in 176 countries and was conceived in 1999 by FIFA President Sepp Blatter as a means of fast forwarding football development.
‘He envisioned the development and establishment of football facilities in even the smallest nations, and the offer of unprecedented opportunity for the youth of the world through football,’ Mr Webb said in tribute to the FIFA President.
Guest Speaker for the evening was Vice-President for Cable and Wireless Northern Caribbean Mobile Services Ken Guiste.
He too was in full praise of efforts to build the training and sports centre, ‘In the case of the Cayman Islands such a facility would raise the bar and further showcase this beautiful part of the Caribbean.’
A former English footballer and coach, Mr Guiste predicted a rise in the level of Cayman’s game, ‘With the vision of our Cayman Islands Football Association we now have an opportunity to develop Cayman youth football to that of potential world beaters and I do not say that lightly. The 17.5 acres of land at Spotts that has been identified as the facility that will host Cayman’s Football Academy will nurture talent never seen before in these parts, it will demand respect from the region and will attract top coaches the output being quality, disciplined and fit players ready to compete both here and abroad.’