Scotland lauds great displays

Beverly Melbourne

Mark Scotland, the minister of
sport, heaped praise on the Cayman Islands Football Association for their
fantastic achievements during the 2009-10 season in the CONCACAF Under-17
Women’s championship and the local leagues at the 44th annual general meeting
held recently at the Marriot Resort Hotel.

All existing members retained their
respective positions as this was a non-voting congress. Jeffrey Webb remains as
president, 1st vice-president David Frederick, Peter Campbell second
vice-treasurer, Canover Watson, general secretary Bruce Blake, deputy general
secretary Paul Macey and assistant general secretary Mark Campbell. Scotland
remains chairman of the youth committee, Sue Greene chairperson of the women’s
committee and Alfredo Whittaker chairman the Referees Association.

Scotland said: “I would like to
highlight the fantastic achievements of the Under-17 girl’s national team in
reaching the CONCACAF Under-17 Women’s Championships for the first time in our
history.  The team, expertly coached and
supported by Bobby McLaren and Thiago Cunha, impressed people not only in the
Cayman Islands but around the region in their team spirit and character,
showing maturity beyond their years as they became the first Cayman Islands
national team to reach a regional finals.”

“The team captured the hearts of
the nation, and none of who attended their final qualification playoff game at
the TE McField Sports Centre on 12 December 2009 will forget the atmosphere
that night as the Annex was turned into a sea of red shirts and Cayman flags. I
can assure you that the Cayman Islands Government was proud to have been able
to assist the girls in their qualification, and were enthusiastic supporters of
the team throughout the competition.

“I would like to take this
opportunity to first of all congratulate all clubs on another successful
season.  All teams involved in the
2009-10 season showed great amounts of skill and character. I would also like
to publicly thank those people behind the scenes that keep the teams and the
league running; the coaches, volunteers, parents, referees and the staff at
CIFA.  Although the focus will always be
what happens on the pitch, if it was not for the dedication of these people,
the vast majority of whom are volunteers donating their time, energy and
resources for the love of the game, we would not be able to run the number of
programmes that we do, and we would not have the many opportunities to play
football that we currently do.”

He also stated that the Government
will continue to support youth development programmes and urged CIFA and its member
clubs to continue their focus on youth development as that is the cornerstone
of the government’s planning.

“It is a source of great pride to
see the successes of club youth programmes; Cayman Athletic, Bodden Town and
Elite’s recent dominance in local youth competitions, and Academy’s fantastic
performance in the Schwan USA Cup with their Under 11 team losing only one
match winning one competition and finishing as runners up in a second. Getting
our young Caymanians involved in sport teaches them vital life lessons of team
work, humility, and leadership, while also improving their health, relationships
with others and sense of community.  I
keep coming back to that word, community.”

Another highlight of the AGM was
the presentation by Marcos Tinaco’s introduction as the CIFA Development
Officer for the FIFA Grassroots Programme. This programme was implemented by
FIFA for the first time in Africa and was dubbed the ‘Win in Africa With
Africa’ It was a great success and provided strong support for football
development in the continent. It was a project designed to assist football at
the grassroots level, women’s football and other aspects of football development.

The Cayman Islands is
geographically situated in the Caribbean and is therefore qualified to be part
of the ‘Win in CONCACAF With CONCACAF’. This is another achievement for CIFA
under the leadership of president Jeffrey Webb. This programme will kick off
soon and will include all the districts on the island.

* For more
information on CIFA events and competitions call 949-5775 or email [email protected]
or [email protected] or [email protected]  

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