A new format has been unveiled for the 2014 Republic Bank Right Start Football tournament.
The tournament will no longer be comprised of an under-16 division but will be contested in two categories – under 15 and under 21 male and female.
Coordinator of Sports in the Ministry of Sports, Conrad Francis, said the reason for the change in the categories is because there are a lot of students who are missing out on the competition because of the age range.
Francis noted that children are leaving school at the age of 16/17 so it is imperative “for us to concentrate on the lower division like the ages of 13/14”.
There is a need, he said to capture them at an earlier age “because we have been losing these children from the sport because when they get into school the first two years they cannot make the school team and by the time they reach in Form 3, they get frustrated and they forget the sports”.
According to Francis, this will allow children to take part in the competition at a younger age.
He mentioned the inclusion of the girl’s category, which has been doing well over the years.
He said he is hoping that the Grenada Football Association (GFA) will take a more active role in pioneering the girls division.
“A couple years ago they did assist in providing uniforms but we want to see a deeper collaboration between the Ministries, the banks and the GFA and we have been clamouring for that so that we can have a greater collaboration for the development of women’s football because we think that women’s football in the world as a whole has gone places and we think that we are lagging behind and we need to push it some more”, he said.
“…There is a lot of monies available for the development of women’s football and we want to make sure that we capture that and utilise it in the right way,” he added.
Managing Director of Republic Bank, Keith Johnson, said the bank takes pride, in providing opportunities for the nation’s youth in the form of football.
He said Republic which has been the title sponsor of the tournament for the past 11 years, is hoping this year turns out to be another successful year as the other years.
“As we launch another season of Right Start football, we are heartened by the success of the tournament. Over the years we have witnessed highly talented players emerge from this tournament, many of which have excelled and gone on to represent Grenada”, he remarked.
“…The recently concluded football World Cup in Brazil shows us the endless possibilities and personal satisfaction that can be derived from the game and my challenge to all of you within this season is to set the aim much higher than the Republic Bank Right Start Cup, in fact, I challenge them to aim for the World Cup,” he said.
Chief Education Officer in the Ministry of Education, Andrea Phillip who was also present at the launch reiterated that Education and Sports go hand in hand.
She said: “In a 21st century where we are particularly concerned with the reduction of chronic disease or obesity and all the various ills that attend our contemporary, maybe too casual lifestyle, you must be concerned with physical education and sports,
“…I want to thank the Republic Bank for making it possible for our footballers to have an opportunity to have their skills showcased, as a matter of fact to give the Ministry of Sports the opportunity to find talent, to train talent and to bring talent to the place where it can, even at a national level and perhaps even allow our young people to get an opportunity to make a serious livelihood in the area of sporting endeavours,” she added.
The tournament, which kicked off on September 25th at the Progress Park in St Andrew will follow the format of quarter finals, semi finals and finals.
The tournament will be conducted in two zones, the Eastern Zone and the Western Zone with the finals set for November 19.