An enthusiastic group of players turned out for the inaugural Secondary Schools Girls Football Festival organized by the St Lucia Football Association [SLFA], in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports and Ministry of Education, at the Soufriere Mini Stadium, last Wednesday.
Leon Hess Secondary School [LHSS] were the eventual winners of the competition. This event was part of the activities for Women’s Football Month.
A total of nine secondary schools participated in the girls football festival, which begun with a March Past of the teams neatly clad in their respective uniforms, from the Soufriere Fire Service, about mid-morning.
The Soufriere Mini Stadium was transformed into a buzz of activity. Firstly, the young women put on a display of skills and drills in separate zones, assisted by their coaches, before taking on the on-field challenge.
Following an impressive March Past it was now time for football action, with the teams competing in two groups.
There was no letting up as the day was filled with lots of excitement and jubilation with opposing teams battling it out gallantly and in friendly sporting rivalry, while the goal keepers featured in some outstanding play.
Interestingly, in keeping with the sporting trend, the event organizers opted to highlighting the respective participating school teams with the name of a World Cup 2022 competitor, thus identified as: the Womens’ World Cup.
School team participants were as follows:
Brazil – Entrepot, Morocco -Clendon Mason Memorial, Netherlands-Micoud, USA-Leon Hess, Spain – Vieux Fort Comprehensive, France – Beanfield Secondary, England – Grande Riviere, Argentina – Soufriere Comprehensive, and Croatia – Anse Ger.
Following the preliminary round of competition, Vieux Fort and Soufriere Comprehensive Secondary battled it out for the Third Place, with Vieux Fort Comprehensive emerging triumphant. For their efforts they received the trophy, medals and three footballs for the team and one for the goalkeeper.
The Finals was a classic with Leon Hess Comprehensive emerging victorious and being crowned champions over Micoud Secondary. Each of the finalists were presented with four footballs while each of the goal keepers received a football each.
As a token of appreciation each of the participating schools were presented with two footballs.
The organisers hailed the success of the activity and commended the schools for participating and their determined efforts.
LHCSS coach Martinus “Ras Ibed” Francis was quite pleased with his team’s performance. He said that while there was limited time for preparations, nonetheless, the girls showed much determination by putting their training routines into practise to end up champions.
Sidonie, the LHCSS Physical Education teacher, said it was “a good initiative undertaken by the SLFA” and collaborating partners to bring this venture to fruition.
“We are very happy about the festival and that will take us a long way,” declared the LHCSS coach. He said the girls look forward to competing at future competitions, since “we have been a good team from the past …and we came here with a zeal, we came there very good and we will continue doing that.”
Issuing some sporting advice, the veteran schools sports coach stated there is much hope for developing a competent national girls football team, as “when we start from the juniors coming up …we will have a good junior team and onwards to the senior team . So, I feel we will just continue to do the good work and in that area, Saint Lucia can produce some very good female football players.