The 2018 Republic Bank Right Start Youth Football Tournament has begun with 15 teams from 22 schools battling for honours in the competition.
The tournament which began last Thursday is into its 15th year and Managing Director of Republic Bank, Keith Johnson, referred to it as a milestone achievement for the financial institution.
In an opening ceremony held at the Kirani James Athletic Stadium at Queen’s Park, Johnson said that many of Grenada’s national footballers were once children of the Republic Bank Right Start Cup.
He recalled that at a recent tournament in which Grenada was represented in both male and female football it was noted by an official that the entire Girls’ Under-15 team was comprised of young ladies who participated in Republic Bank’s Right Start Youth Football Tournament.
“…We were particularly proud of that achievement. We hope that with the continuation of our sponsorship of youth football, that that transition from youth to representing the country will continue and get even stronger”, he said.
According to Johnson, the bank has pumped in $1.5 million in the tournament over the last 5 years and is extremely grateful to have contributed to “creating and enhancing the talent within our young footballers”.
This year the bank has brought in a new trophy as the champion trophy used in the competition for the last three years was handed over to last year’s winner, Mc Donald College, which have won the tournament three years in a row.
Johnson encouraged participating teams to strive towards that kind of achievement.
He said, “I want to congratulate our second triple champions, Mc Donald College…some years ago we had St. Mark’s winning three years in a row, so we had two teams winning three years in a row – St. Mark and Mc Donald College and this is (the) challenge I throw out to any team…to go for the triple crown because there is a special prize awaiting triple crown winners.”
Declaring the tournament open was Minister with responsibility for Youth Development, Kate Lewis who commended Republic Bank and other stakeholders for their dedication towards the sport and the development of youth in Grenada.
“I think sportsmanship is knowing that it is the game and we are as only good as our opponents and whether we lose or win, we should always give 100%. I pause to salute all the participating schools, coaches and teachers because it takes (a) special person to dedicate and commit to the development of our young people through sports”, she said.
“The mere fact that we are all standing here today speaks to the commitment of everyone to the development of football in our country…”, she added.
The female government minister went on: “…I must commend the sponsors, Republic Bank Grenada Limited for the sponsorship and contribution to the development of football and by-and-large the development of the young people of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique. Over the years you have not only provided lip service but
you have demonstrated good corporate and social responsibility”.
Eight weeks of football action is expected from the participating teams throughout the duration of the tournament.