The five-a-side football scene at King’s Sports Centre is still popular, but not quite as vibrant as a few years ago.
There are fewer teams and the buzz is more low-key. However, plans are being drawn by owner Rex Ebanks and marketing manager Alyssa Christian to make improvements.
Raph Harvey who plays for CFP Buzz Crusaders said he feels he knows what needs to be done to make the five-a-side setup at King’s exciting.
“The organisation of it all needs to be tighter,” Harvey said. “I also don’t feel like the players are playing for anything in the regular season because everyone qualifies for the playoffs and it is not seeded.
“Prizes, trophies and rewards need to be introduced again so that people see what we are playing for.”
The referees agree with Harvey.
“More attention is needed to address the state of the court, such as netting, flooring and basketball hoops taken out of the way,” said Gavin Dixon. “A weekly inspection of game balls should be done. Teams are paying a lot in league fees so this should be a priority. As soon as they show visual breakdown of stitching and matting they should be changed. Some can be kept for warm ups.”
Dixon said he is pleased that team and player attitudes have improved.
“This is because of the communication between the officials and players,” he said. “But I think we need a committee to establish a respected and profitable league, proper rules and guidelines need to be put in place.
“This can be achieved via a committee that would include a head official of the league, a team/league rep, Kings rep and an independent nominee.
“Once we have this we can properly enforce and regulate team and player activities. Other indoor leagues or events would benefit from this as well.
“I don’t feel that the King’s staff should have all the say, simply because they do not have enough experience or exposure to the league. As it stands, no offence to anyone, the league is hurting from bad decisions.”
Dixon said he feels the potential for a nationally-recognised league is enormous.
“This also has the potential of being recognised internationally, with tournaments and huge events following,” he said. “If we address the issues I’ve mentioned and provide top-notch equipment, staff and facilities, the rest will come.”
Alfredo Whittaker is one of Cayman’s most experienced referees. He said: “The five-a-side competition needs better balls and bibs that have numbers and don’t stink from being unwashed,” he said.
He also said games need two refs to monitor action around the boxes better and that refs should be paid more per game.
On a positive note, like Dixon, Whittaker said discipline is much better overall and there are fewer confrontations.