The 2015 Republic Bank Right Start Cup Youth Football Tournament kicks of this Thursday October 1 at the Roy St. John’s Playing Field in St George’s, with two of the top schools on the island expected to face each other in the opening game.
Coordinator of the tournament Findley Fletcher, addressing members of the media, sponsors and ministry officials during a media launch at the Ministry of Works last Friday, said the highlight of Thursday’s opening would be a clash between defending under 21 Boys Champion Happy Hill Secondary School (HHSS) and a former champion the Grenada Boys Secondary School (GBSS).
According to Fletcher, the 2015 tournament carded to run from October 1st to November 18th, promises to be a keenly contested one as all schools including Carriacou have indicated their readiness for the tournament and preparation has been ongoing with a number of players presently involved in the current GFA football tournament.
Fletcher said the day would begin with a parade of all participating schools both in the girls’ and boys’ divisions, followed by remarks from ministry officials and sponsors. This he said would be followed by an exhibition game involving the bank and ministry combined versus a combined secondary school team and ends with the feature game of the evening.
The 2015 tournament would comprise three divisions; namely the under 21 boys and girls and the under 15 boys. The girls division comprises two zones, to be played on a round-robin basis where the top two finishers in each zone would play a semi-final round before heading into the finals.
The under 15 division would comprise four zones; the top two finishers in each zone would go into a quarter final, to be followed by a semi-final and final. The same format he said, would apply in the case of the under 21 boys.
Fletcher commended the Republic Bank for their financial commitment to the tournament over the past twelve years, amidst what he called tough economic times; both the ministry and the schools he said are eternally grateful.
The tournament is expected to culminate on November 18th with all three finals, taking place at the Grenada National Stadium; to be followed by team prizes and individual awards.
Coordinator of Sports Conrad Francis, addressing last Friday’s launch, dubbed the occasion as another happy moment for the Ministry of Sports as they prepare to host one of the biggest sporting events within the ministry. Francis was also high in praise to the Republic Bank for the role it has been and continues to play through these sponsorships, in developing youth football in Grenada and shaping young minds. Republic Bank, he said, is not just a sponsor but partner in the overall process of the tournament.
Republic Bank representative Devon Thornhill, Manager of Retail Services Grenville Cluster, also addressed the opening ceremony and according to him the bank is elated to be able to make its contribution to nation building through the sponsorship of the tournament, which he described as the bank’s premiere sponsorship event. This, he noted, is testimony to the confidence and support the bank places on youths, the country’s most valuable resource, possessed with the power to make a difference.
The manager assured the young footballers that outside the support of their school and parents the bank is there with them, and the sponsorship of $80,000.00 for this year’s tournament is further evidence. He welcomed the return of the Carriacou team to the tournament and called on the players to use the opportunity to build determination and skills, focus on the game, listen to coaches and remember at all times that football is a team game where each member is important.
Also addressing the media launch were, representative from the Ministry of Education, Hermione Baptiste, Curriculum Development Officers and acting General Secretary of the Grenada Football Association GFA, Malika Church, who commended the Ministry of Sports for another tournament but called for greater collaboration in future events; GFA being the principal body for the growth and development of football in Grenada. Church said GFA wishes to be more involved in all major schools football tournaments in Grenada.