On the eve of the launch of two new major programs at the King’s Sports Centre, residents of the Cayman Islands can also enjoy the first anniversary of the Digicel Five-A-Side Football program. The program which had its historical kick-off on April 24th of 2006 has seen both dynamic changes within the league and a phenomenal growth curve as well. Plans for the Five-A-Side program began as a small venture in mid March of 2006, but after some unique marketing tactics and a fresh philosophy on sports management, the small idea quickly sprung into an 11 team program. Considered at the time to be one of the most successful sporting leagues to greet the Cayman Islands, the league quickly outdid itself, by growing into a 2 division, 14 team program by its second term. Currently in its 3rd season with 20 teams in 2 divisions, and approaching the playoffs, residents can already look forward to the 4th consecutive Digicel Five-A-Side league, which is set to begin in late June.
‘I am still amazed that this program is so successful,’ said King’s Athletic Director, Raymond Singh. ‘When I first came to Island in March of 2006, I was simply looking for a way of generating a small start up program. I never dreamed that the league would have blossomed the way it did. I can’t thank enough our league-wide sponsor Digicel, the companies island wide that have supported our players, or the staff at King’s that have diligently worked towards this program’s success.’
Mr. Rex Ebanks, owner of the King’s Sports Centre commented: ‘I believe in Ray. Since he came to the island last year, he has created several programs in addition to the Digicel Five-A-Side league, and improved the philosophy of recreational sports in the Cayman Islands. The Digicel Five-A-Side program and its continued success is a product of his dedication to constant improvement. We at King’s look forward to the new season in June.’
Although it has shown tremendous growth and success, the indoor program has seen its fair share of hurdles. ‘With all new ventures, there are going to be problems along the way,’ said Singh. ‘We have seen a few instances of disciplinary problems among our players and teams, as well as very small referee pool which in itself has caused some problems. However, we have not ignored these issues, but rather have faced both head on. One of the new programs that we are developing is the referee training program, which will both increase our numbers and diversify our officials even more. In addition, we have enforced strict policies against players or teams that demonstrate unsportsmanlike conduct, in order to prevent future related issues. At the end of the day, our successes in this league far overshadow the minor setbacks that we have faced.’
As the program looks towards its future place in the Cayman Islands, Vincent O’Donoghue, Head of Sales for Digicel had this to say: ‘Digicel have been thrilled with the success of the 5 a side league, it is well organized, well supported and very competitive in both the men’s and ladies leagues. We are very proud to be associated with such a successful tournament and hope to continue our involvement in years to come. The Digicel men’s team is doing very well this season and there is a buzz in our office before every game which I am sure is the same in other companies across the island. It is leagues and events like this that make living in Cayman so great and are part of the islands lifeblood’. Mr. Singh also said, ‘The Digicel Five-A-Side program is a non-political program that offers every adult an equal opportunity, no matter of age, race or origin. This program is great for Cayman and with the attitude that innovation is the key for it’s continued success, we look forward to many more anniversaries.’
For more information on the upcoming Digicel Five-A-Side program or any other programs at the King’s Sports Centre, please contact Raymond Singh at either 946-5464 or by email at [email protected] .