Skills given chance to kick in

Developing football skills is a vital part of improving any player’s game and a new 4 x 4 tournament introduced last week helped address that issue.

It included not just team championships but also dribbling and free-kick contests for both sexes.

Organised by Chris Douglas of Scholars International and Olsen Bush of Future Sports Club, the tournament was over two sessions, at the Ed Bush stadium in West Bay and the TE McField Annex in George Town.

Five four-a-side teams entered in each gender – mostly youth teams – and the whole event was thoroughly enjoyed despite teething and logistical problems that always come with inaugural tournaments.

Cayman Free Press entered their Buzz Crusaders team which reached the semi-finals. Men’s team winners were Town Squad and the women’s team champs were Fusion.

Neesha Godet pushed eventual champ Brittni Ebanks to four additional rounds before there was a winner.

Janel Ebanks, women’s bribbling winner, took the most accurate free-kick of the day (men and women inclusive) but it was only an exhibition as she was competing in just the dribbling contest .

“Chris wanted to do a competition to help fundraise for his women’s programme at Scholars and I’ve been considering doing a 4v4 competition that would include skill competitions also for a while so when Chris approached me a few months back to do it together we went for it,” said Olsen Bush.

“The response was encouraging. Everyone said it was so much fun and kept asking when we will do it again. We will definitely do it again, annually at a minimum.”

For Bush the highlights were the beautiful skills on display. “I was most impressed by the talent shown by a young group of players on team Academy. They had only four players on Friday in their squad and won their first three games with some outstanding passing and individual dribbling skills.

“Now that the competition has stood the test and proven how enjoyable these type of games can be I hope we can get more youth teams out next time.”

They hope to attract sponsors and more support in the future.

“Hopefully, I feel confident the support will improve next time. During the competition there were young players asking if they could still enter a team.

“We would like it to be much bigger and specifically many youth teams next time.

“It was amazing to see some of the youngsters grow in understanding how to play the game simpler from game to game, even during this short two day competition. This was one of the underlying reasons to have the competition as a 4v4 format.”

Bush is exceptionally busy in football at present. Not only does he coach at Future, he also plays masters, Sunday league and five-a-side football. Four by four could be added if he can find the time and energy.

“Of course the desire to play my favourite childhood game is always there and yes I would love to play 4v4 but more importantly I would be happier to see many more youngsters, both boys and girls, out next time.”

Coach Douglas said: “The reason Olsen and I came up with the tournament was to help bring all young players on and bring clubs together for the up coming season and inspire every club on the Island to be more together rather than fighting against one another. So by Scholars and Future joining together it shows every club can do the same and bring love back.

“The response we’re getting from a lot of people is that it helps keep them interested and motivates them for the new season and also brings some fun back in football.

“The plan is to make it an annual tournament because it helps bring teams and players together as one and help keep teenagers from trouble on the road.

“The highlights for me was to see every player come together as one and see how much potential the Cayman Islands has to offer with their individual talent.”

Considering it was the first staging of the tournament, Douglas feels support from the general public could have been better.

“We need more of the public to come out and support the tournament and players and more clubs to help volunteer in the tournament,” he said.

“In the future we want to get more sponsors and support from the community and expand it to the whole of the Cayman Islands. The format will be the same with four players on the pitch but getting a lot more teams involved.

“The benefits the players got was to work as one and face new challenges in the tournament and as an individual and learn more about the game that can help them for the full league season.”

A national team player himself, Douglas also plays five-a-side. If the chance comes, he wants to play in the four-a-side format too. “I love football a lot and the 4v4 tournament is a new challenge to me that I would love to experience and share the passion with everyone that participated.”

It included not just team championships but also dribbling and free-kick contests for both sexes.

Comments are closed.