Captain and tournament MVP Ronaldo Bowen is surrounded by his triumphant St James North teammates, while receiving the winning trophy from director of youth Cleviston Hunte. NSC deputy director Neil Murrell is (at left), while NSC’s interim chairman Jerry Blenman is (third right) and principal youth development officer John Hollingsworth (right). (Picture by Kenmore Bynoe.)
The National Sports Council/Youth Development Programme National Community Under-17 Football Tournament has grown significantly in its three years, says deputy director of the National Sports Council (NSC), Neil Murrell.
“This is the third year for the tournament and it has grown by leaps and bounds,” Murrell said in his welcoming address at the awards luncheon on Sunday at the Ivan Harewood Resource Centre in Christ Church.
Murrell said that having a women’s section as part of the tournament for the first time was a major development.
“This was the first time we had a ladies tournament and the idea behind it was also the rallying call from the Minister of Sport [Stephen Lashley] in the second aspect of the tournament in 2016. We had a special part . . . for the ladies and the ladies answered the call.”
Murrell also applauded the work of the coaches, managers and administrators, who assisted in the players’ development as young footballers.
Delivering the feature address on behalf of Lashley, director of youth Cleviston Hunte said the tournament was established to allow young men to have friendly rivalry and is important for the development of football in the island.
“The exposure to life skill exercises has contributed significantly to the building of character and teamwork of the players and in so doing provided a springboard to develop youth, which will allows them to better cope with life challenges,” he said.
Hunte noted the Ministry of Sport was confident the girls’ soccerama among the secondary schools, which was added this year, would grow once funding was available and it was seen as a priority.
“This year we answered the call, adding a female component. We had a successful female soccerama that could grow into a full-fledged tournament once finances remained available.
“The ladies have demonstrated keen interest and I am sure with promotion and ommitment the ladies edition will be on par with that of the young men,” he said. (RG)