After a two-year break due to the Covid-19 pandemic, footballers and fans from the Marchand community will see some action as another exciting season gets underway.
On Monday (October 3) teams lined up at the Marchand playing field for a March Pass of teams in the Philip J Pierre Tournament, after which two exhibition matches were played to kick off the season, both of which ended in drawn games.
The launch of the Phillip J. Pierre Football Tournament was held in collaboration with the Saint Lucia Football Association (SLFA) Inc. and the Marchand Football League [MFL].
Despite more recent hardships and incidents of anti-social behaviour and criminal disturbances, residents from the community and the sporting public at large can still vividly recall the then popular ‘Marchand Grounds’ recognised as the ‘home of football’ on the island.
The Phillip J Pierre Football Competition has persisted over the past 20 years. This season, a total of eight teams will participate in the event.
At the media launch, PM Pierre delivered some motivational remarks as he welcomed the return of the event, stating that: “This is a vital initiative because the residents have been void of football for a very long time, and they are excited that the restrictions have been lifted, allowing the competition to take place again. It is the start and revival of football in Marchand.”
With the authorities and law enforcement officers busy tackling the crime situation and wanting ‘to take a bite off crime’, the event reportedly seeks ‘to foster competition among the football teams’, and more importantly, to also serve as a deterrent to crime.
“I will do anything to alleviate the crime situation in the country… I know if you keep young people occupied, hopefully, they will find less time to be idle,” Pierre stated.
MFL Vice- President Christopher Duncan noted that the competition helps to alleviate the social ills and other economic shortfalls in the community, as well as, promoting ‘good community spirit’. He said after a two-year absence of not being able to host the competition, it is very important “to our community as it helps with all the idlers who are on the side finding themselves in trouble, and it also creates economic activity for vendors to earn some money.”
Added sponsorship came from the Taiwanese Embassy and Sandals Resorts.
While endorsing the MFL tournament, SLFA President Lyndon Cooper said the event was being held in keeping with the association’s policy “as part of the SLFA’s (overall) development plan”. He urged the MFL organisers to continue along that developmental path “as we continue to strive to take Saint Lucian football to higher standards”.
Cooper said despite the challenges faced over the last four to five years in “keeping these units together”, they must remain cognizant of the larger picture, in which Saint Lucia “is part of a global family that sets the parameters for the development of the sport.”
Participating teams from within the wider community, include; Bocage, Bagatelle, Arundel Hill, Lacoudo, Rock Hall, Pavee, Marchand Boulevard and Trou Rouge.
Match draw is as follows:
A1 – Bagatelle
A2 – Rock Hall
A3 – Bocage
A4 – Pavee
B1 – Boulevard
B2 – Tou Rouge
B3 – Arundel Hill
B4 – Lacoudo