The curtains finally came down on Saint Lucia Football Association /Coca Cola Island Cup earlier this week with the official prize giving ceremony held at the SLFA Headquarters in La Clery. The four top teams received a combined total of EC$55,000 with Marchand taking home the biggest chunk $EC25,000 for defeating Mabouya in the finals 4-2.
Present were, SLFA President – Lyndon Cooper, SLFA 2nd Vice President – Kendal Emmanuel, SLFA General Secretary – Victor Reid, senior and junior Brand Manager for Coco Cola – SharleneJn Baptiste and Junior Haynes, representatives from the champion team -Marchand, losing finalist Mabouya Valley, third and fourth place finishers – Vieux Fort South and Gros Islet, and members of the media.
In addressing the gathering, Junior Brand Manager for Coca Cola, Junior Haynes in her brief remarks said, “It was an ideal year for Coca Cola to come onboard and present to you the Coca Cola Island Cup and seeing that it was a World Cup year and football was the hot topic to talk about in every nook and cranny and there was the excitement too”.
Representatives from the sponsor were at a few matches and noticed some of the talent that they never knew some of the players possessed. She continued, “I am hoping one of these days when we look at the World Cup on television, one of our representatives who started here would be on television playing and they would be able to make Saint Lucia proud by saying, it all started at the inaugural Coca Cola Island Cup 2018 and here we are today”.
Keeping a close eye on the SLFA theme “Propelling Saint Lucia to Higher Heights” – Haynes said, “Saint Lucia football has come a long way and I hope with the motivation and support Coca Cola is presenting to you, it will continue and all the players will be motivated and play at their very beat. We are looking forward to many years partnering with the SLFA in staging the Coca Cola Island Cup and making it bigger and better each year”.
President of the SLFA, Lyndon Cooper on behalf of his entire executive thanked Coca Cola for sponsoring the inaugural Island Cup and for seeing the importance for partnering with them.
Cooper said, “The Fact that we introduced the Island Cup, it was a clear indication that we were on the right path where it was important for the SLFA to reintroduce district football at the senior level as part of the overall plan. I want to leave no doubt in anyone’s mind, while we are not sure of any long term sponsorship of Coca Cola, rest assured from 2019 the Island Cup will remain as a permanent fixture of the programme of the SLFA.
The SLFA will seek to ensure that this tournament remains one of their fix or stable tournament and that is all to ensure we continue to build on the journey for the next World Cup bid.
According to the SLFA Boss, It costs them a huge sum of money to execute this tournament.
He said, “The challenge for the SLFA have always been; do we see those senior tournaments as a revenue generating activity or do we continue to keep it as a developmental plan of the SLFA? For us, once we continue to use those senior tournaments as community tournaments we anticipate the crowds are going to be present”.
The organization of those events usually come at a tremendous costs and all those are taken from the developmental funds. Cooper guaranteed everyone present, while the SLFA makes decisions they make them based on an overall plan and not necessary in isolation. He believes the time is right for the SLFA to continue the Island Cup and as they move into the next four year cycle, the SLFA will ensure to make this tournament bigger and better.
In terms of the quality of play exhibited on the pitch, He said, “I hope we could see a major improvement in the performance of all the individual players, because the SLFA will use this tournament as a platform to select and readjust our national senior team moving forward in the next four years. We all have a responsibility to ensure we make these tournaments what they supposed to be at the end of the day and football would be the one benefiting in one way or another.
When you get the sponsors giving you praises, it’s a clear indication because of its execution, it could have only happened with the support and cooperation of every single member who hosted games, rest assured the SLFA is sincerely grateful.
Meanwhile, in monetary prizes presented to the four finalists, Marchand FC taking home the Championship grand prize of EC$25,000; Mabouya EC$15,000, Vieux Fort North EC$10,000 and Gros Islet EC$5000 the sponsor also presented the teams with footballs, bags containing a number of items.