Female Football is expected to be in focus come November, as organisers set the stage for an exciting array of events in observance of Women’s Football Month.
A comprehensive schedule of activities has been drawn up by the St Lucia Football Association [SLFA] with the theme for a ‘fully-fledged’ 2021 Women’s Football Program, dubbed: “Let Them Play”.
The event has been endorsed by the SLFA’s executive committee, and the organizing committee headed by SLFA President Lyndon Cooper. A Women’s coordinator and other key personnel will oversee a series of events for next month. The agenda will also be highlighted with public announcements of goals and objectives for the month.
SLFA vice-president and Women’s Coordinator for the programme, Mary Liz Campbell outlined plans in store.
“We have a full-fledged programme, which is approved by our executive committee all in an effort to make football the number one choice of sport for our females, as our aim is to qualify for the World Cup. ” declared Campbell.
Commenting on the Women’s Football Month agenda, she said, the activities would include; A Hot Seat Programme to be aired on Hot7 TV, and Launch of the Women’s Football Month. Highlights from the respective leagues and activities accomplished will also be featured.
The Windward Islands Football Summit will also be highlighted “in an effort to exchange ideas and best practices,” she said.
Campbell added, “Moving forward …we have a football match, tentatively down to be played in Soufriere, featuring our national teams. We will also have a TV Panel discussion and a pool of persons have been put in place for this programme.”
The women’s football programme coordinator explained that the activities will also include the Women’s Football Festival, which will be held on a zonal basis to involve “all national teams and aspiring footballers in the respective zones.”
The Women’s Football Day activities will feature speeches from SLFA personnel and players; and will also “be featured in the local newspapers, Facebook pages and other social platforms.”
Campbell asserted: “The theme: ‘Let Them Play’ is a very appropriate one because in order to develop female football, we need to create a fun and engaging environment for our females.”
She opined , “I believe if every girl can play , and the more they play the better they get …I urge the leagues, clubs, coaches , schools, parents to allow all our females to play , because there are lots of benefits (opportunities) involved in women’s football .”
Campbell urged, “I ask for the support of all stakeholders as we continue to propel women’s football …and football in general, to higher standards.”
Meanwhile, SLFA general secretary Victor Reid disclosed that despite the junior national female national not being able to participate in the recent Concacaf U-14 Challenge series , due to Covid-19 complications , the girls will not be sidelined as the FA plans to keep them in training with the staging of a ‘mini-competition’ of sorts.
“Due to the Covid-19 issues that we are currently experiencing, several of our planned activities had to be derailed and we had to modify our strategies,” he said.
Reid adds that the crisis has “dampened our ability to implement all the competitions that we really wanted to implement for 2021.”
He noted that the Challenge Series was not designed solely for competitive purposes, but to assist young footballers in their overall development. Subsequently, he said, the U-14 female players that had undergone trials for national selection will be facilitated in an U-14 Girls Challenge ‘mini-competition ’ in an effort to continue to keep them in training.
“The Under-14 Girls Challenge is not a full-fledged tournament, the concept is to take the 70 or 80 girls who participated in the U-14 Girls trials …to let these girls play, let them play,” said Reid.
“And so, they will be broken down (sub-divided) into four (4) teams and the idea is that on Sundays, or whenever the curfew allows us to do so, to continue to play in that mini-championships,” he disclosed.
Reid added, since the girls “had the potential to be at the trials, the SLFA felt that we will undertake that ‘special project’ for the U-14 girls.”