THE inaugural Mayor’s Cup football tournament kicked off on Wednesday at Marchand Grounds under the theme, “One City, One Vision, One Voice”. It is the first time in its 50 years since Castries became a city that the Castries Constituency Council (CCC) will stage a sporting event of such magnitude.
The tournament was originally scheduled to get underway last Sunday, but because of a few unforeseen circumstances and final field preparation at some of the venues, organisers were forced to reschedule the opening to last evening.
In the opening encounter scheduled for last evening, Paveewere slated to take on Beta Finkers.
On Tuesday morning, organizers, accompanied by Castries Mayor Petersen Francis, toured all the playing facilities, starting with the Morne playing field and ending at the Sab Sporting Facility, to ensure all logistics are in place, including field marking.
After visiting just two of the facilities — the Morne playing field and Mindoo Phillip Park — Francis said, “Everything looks like a breakdown in this country when it comes to sports, sporting facilities and indiscipline. We have a lot of work to do. But I must compliment Gilroy Hall and the planning committee for the work they have done thus far. What I saw then and what I am seeing now is really pathetic. The Morne (playing field) and the MPP look a lot better now for play.”
The tournament originated after the awards ceremony of the Marchand Big 8 Knock Out tournament when Francis was challenged to host a football event within the Castries basin. The Mayor at the time thought the idea was a great initiative. He immediately invited a committee which comprised the Saint Lucia Football Association; Gilroy Hall of Ezi Promotions; Edmund Wilkie of Sound City International; and representatives from the Castries Constituency Council and Sports Saint Lucia Inc.
Two matches are on the card for today. From 4:00 p.m., it’s Bays FC versus Obla Fusion at the Sab Sporting Facility and Goodlands will play Flow Lancers FC at the Morne playing field at 4:00 p.m.
On Friday, NYAH will take on VSADC at the Mindoo Phillip Park from 4:00 p.m.
The tournament’s champs will receive $5000, while the second and third place teams will receive $3000 and $2000 dollars respectively.
The participating teams are, Group A: Bay FC and Obla Fusion(South), LA All Stars (La Clery/ North), B1 FC (Marchand); Group B: Big Players (Marchand), Goodlands (South Castries), Radix (La Clery/North), Flow Lancers FC (Central); Group C: Pavee United FC (Marchand/ East), Beta Thinkers (La Clery/North), Nyabinghi (Central), VSADC (Central).
Matches will be played at the Mindoo Phillip Park, Marchand Grounds, Morne playing field, La Clery playing field and the Sab Sporting Facility.
At last week’s launch, SLFA President Lyndon Cooper thanked organizers for making this initiative a reality, saying that he was surprised that it took just three weeks to organize the tournament.
“It has always been a policy decision of the SLFA for the last six years to attempt to get social partners to continue to enhance the game across Saint Lucia,” he said. “We are now partners with the Ministry of Social Services, where we attempt to end once and for all child abuse in sports.
“We also managed to build a relationship with the Bordelais Correctional Facility where we have committed ourselves for the next 30 months to complete and to fund their football activities as part of their rehabilitation project. We are also in partnership with the Saint Lucia Red Cross Society and come 2018, they will train 85 football clubs under the SLFA banner in terms of First Aid.
“I simply hope the Mayor remains in office for next 15 years, so we can continue this wonderful partnership,”
Francis said it is very critical that people understand what sports, especially soccer, does with respect to its impact, benefits and influence.
“The role it plays in every aspect, when you do comprehend, you will make that determination. The development of the inaugural Mayor’s Cup will provide football enthusiasts the unique opportunity to become winners. But more than that, it revives football in the Castries region,” he said.
He continued, “Over the years, we have seen a major decline in sporting disciplines. We have seen talented young individuals give in to the bad elements. We have seen them lose focus and pride, and we have seen high level skills and talents gone through thin air. In my own capacity as Mayor of Castries, I stand corrected. My role is not only to govern a city; it is critical I do develop the future, narture talent and play a wider role in bringing people and communities together.”