Football Engenders Community Pride and Creativity, Says Sports Director

A host of individuals, teams and district leagues were duly recognized at last weekend’s Football Awards ceremony for their noteworthy contributions to the game over the past year and more.
The event, hosted by the Saint Lucia Football Association [SLFA] Inc. elicited some commendable pronouncements on the development and growth of the ‘beautiful game’ on the island.

The ‘Most Prestigious’ Awards went to – Senior Male Footballer of the Year – Gregson President, Senior and Junior Female Footballer of the Year- Anicka Louis; and Junior Male Footballer of the Year – Alex Devaux.

Citing the popularity of the sport, Director of Sports Clivus Jules stated that football stood “head and shoulders” above other competitive sports played in the country.

“Almost every household is involved in the game of football, in one way or the other,” he said.

Gilroy Lamontagne (left) Coach of the Year accepts award from SLFA Technical Director Ces Podd

Jules also commented on the “social value” of football in the country. He noted that at certain times football has helped to curb the scourge of criminal activity in the communities, with such events as the ‘Peace and Love’ soccer challenges and other competitions.

The SLFA has also canvassed widely with promotions decrying gun violence and other criminal acts in the society, with slogans such as: Football is Life, If You see Something Say Something, Give Violence a Red Card and Each One Teach One.

“Football is a tool to help in the social engagement of our people…and this makes the role of the SLFA even more critical in our country,” Jules added.

The sports director stated that the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports (MYDS) maintains cordial relations with the SLFA, which is integral to the overall development of the game and raising the standards.

Anicka Louis, Junior Female Footballer of the Year
Anicka Louis, Junior Female Footballer of the Year

He recalled that the ministry has collaborated with the SLFA on several community drives and this partnership extends to the coaching sessions at the school level and other ventures.

Notably, he said, the government has contributed substantively to the establishment of the Semi-Pro Football League [SPFL]. The inaugural competition kicked off, last month, with a double header at the Mindoo Phillip Park [MPP], in Marchand, as a tribute to the original ‘Home of football’ on the island.

Jules said the ministry will continue to support the development of the sport, “because we know the value of football” in the community.

Appealing to the players, coaches and administrators, he stated: “I want to encourage you to continue striving to be better …and continue working to make our footballing community better. There is a world out there awaiting you, if you can do that.”

Beaming with pride on this ‘milestone achievement’, SLFA President Lyndon Cooper acknowledged the input of the stakeholders that assisted the association in bringing the SPFL to fruition.

Alex Devaux, Junior Male Footballer of the Year

He said the SLFA plans to extend its outreach in 2025, as a clear indication that “we want to bring more persons into the sport of football.”

Noting that football is a team game, Cooper said the primary objective of the SLFA and the country by extension is to see its players rise to the highest standards on the global platform, as Saint Lucia aspires to get a team to compete at the FIFA World Cup.

He said the SLFA remains committed to working with strategic partners, both locally and internationally, to boost the further development of football on the island “in order to achieve both our short-term and long-term goals.”

Meanwhile, a list of the winners at the SLFA Football Awards, were as follows:
Coach of the Year – Gilroy Lamontagne (Black Panthers FC)
Football Club of the Year – Black Panthers FC (Soufriere)
Football League of the Year – Gros Islet Football League (GIFL)
Football Club /Team of the Year – La Clery Football Club
Football Administrator of the Year – Shayne Paul (GIFL)
Referee of the Year – Alvina Francis, Renee Napoleon
Lifetime Achievement Awardees – Patrick Mathurin, Timothy Joseph, and Nigel Mathurin

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