To most residents in the Cayman Islands, Renard Moxam is simply a businessman.
But beyond his reputation as the managing director of Island Companies Ltd, Moxam also has a sports legacy. At last week’s George Town camp, put on by local football club FC International, he spoke about that link.
“I played football over 25 years ago for four teams in By-Rite, Interpol, Benefica and CNB,” Moxam said. “There are more kids now in the population compared to my age group. Every child back in my time was involved in football simply because there was no other sport to speak of other than cricket.”
Moxam was one of the guest speakers for the annual summer initiative, which took place at the TE McField Sports Centre. Alongside fellow businessman Lenny Hew and George Town MLA Ellio Solomon, Moxam spoke to some 80 youngsters aged 6-16. One of the areas he focused on was keeping in good physical shape.
“Respect your body and mind. They are the two most important things you have. I played football for many years and you have to respect the game. Treat your body well and the sport will take you far. All in all if you respect the game, the game will respect you.”
Moxam, who was born in George Town, has followed his advice quite well. In spite of being in his 50s, he could pass for much younger. He jokes, “I feel like 25.” All three of his sons are active members of Cayman’s sporting community with Johan and Luigi Moxam having been in flag football for over three years (the duo won a national championship in 2008).
Luigi has also played basketball for a number of seasons, earning a national championship this summer for the Dominos Warriors. Younger brother Julian is currently involved in the St. Ignatius football programme.
Moxam states one of the most surprising parts of football today is the amount of distractions facing local players.
“There is more for the modern kid to be involved with like swimming, track and field and baseball. There are many other sports here and it is a good thing because there are a whole lot of options for kids to explore. They can improve their bodies and gain discipline too. “However it’s a different time and set of circumstances for football. I don’t think the kids now have any less passion for football than when we were playing. But there are more distractions now as they are playing two or three different sports at a time. Because of that, the level of technique is not where it should be.”
The FC International endeavour, which is headed up by club president Kennedy Ebanks and camp director Elbert McLean, is the second major football camp to take place in George Town this month. The annual Dutch camp, featuring PSV Eindhoven youth coach Roy Wilhelm and his staff, took place at Truman Bodden Sports Complex. Wilhelm spotted a few youngsters as having the potential to excel abroad.
Nevertheless Moxam is curious about the future of Cayman’s national sport and whether future generations can make the next step and become professional players.
“I’m involved with the Catholic football programme through my son but I’m not involved in the national coaching circle. I don’t know what message is being given to our young people. But I’m fairly certain coaches have given assistance to the kids and pushed them. Whether kids take it on is a different question. By having events and good initiatives like this FC International camp, football can be remedied. We will get stronger and I’m confident the kids will get it.
“If you leave the kids to their own devices, they will look at TV and the final stage of the sport in the form of the pro teams. That’s an area I feel we have to better explain to them. To get to the professional level is not easy.”