By: Curtis Morton
A significant and historic meeting took place on Nevis on Sunday 23rd June. The meeting took place at the award winning Nisbett Plantation Inn.
On that day, Mr. Howard Mc Intosh, representing the world Football body FIFA met with Junior Minister in the Ministry of Sports, Hon. Hazel Brandy-Williams, along with other officials from the Ministry and Department of Sports on the island.
Mr. MC Intosh is the FIFA Development Officer for the South East Caribbean which involves 11 countries, including St.Kitts and Nevis. His role mainly involves the promotion and development of the game in the region within the individual territories and CONCACAF (The Caribbean Football Federation). He also monitors the various FIFA coordinated programs within the region.
He indicated that his first time visit to Nevis, originated out of a conversation with President of the St.Kitts –Nevis Football Association President, Mr. Anthony Johnson and CONCACAF President, Mr. Jeffrey Webbe, during which it was established that he needed to meet with the persons who directed the game of Football on the island.
He noted that from a FIFA perspective, his organization is concerned about the development of Football everywhere and ensuring that the game is being played by as many people as possible. The meeting served to update him on the specific Football needs of the island and he also received an update as regards the development of the game in this part of the Federation.
His stated purpose going forward is to work in conjunction with the St.Kitts-Nevis Football Association to assess the needs identified and to come up with workable solutions towards the improvement of the game.
He further indicated that it was ‘love at first sight’ in terms of his visit to the island and made the commitment that he will not only be back for business reasons, but would certainly put the island on his vacation itinerary.
Junior Minister of Sports, Hon. Hazel Brandy-Williams deemed the meeting a success. She pointed to the fact that a FIFA official had chosen to visit Nevis for the first time, as a positive indicator of FIFA’s commitment to the development of the game on the island. She stated that the deliberations had proven to be very fruitful and that certain commitments were assured in terms of assistance in upgrading the sport as regards technical assistance, training and other related areas.
She was also happy to report that she had received a renewed commitment from President Johnson of the SKNFA that he will establish an even closer working relationship with the administrators of the game on Nevis.
SKNFA’S chief, President Anthony Johnson, also referred to the meeting as a success. He thought that it was a good follow up to the successful launch the previous day in St.Kitts of the goal project two which is the Association’s technical center of excellence. That meeting was graced with the presence of the CONCACAF President and Minister Hazel Brandy-Williams.
‘Going forward, we are committed to the continued development of the sport within the Federation and in particular in the island of Nevis,’ he stated.
He pointed to the successful appointments on Nevis in terms of Referees and committed to the continued development in that regard. He also noted that his Association is looking forward to the launch of goal project four on the island, in the not too distant future. He revealed that FIFA gives a grant of US 500,000.00 for each goal project.
He stated that his Association is committed to ensuring that it is truly representative of its name, in looking out for the interests on both islands and in this regard will seek to continue the development of referees, coaches and players on the island.
There was also good news for the CCC Bath united Football team which regularly travels across to St.Kitts at its own expense to participate in the SKNFA league. President Johnson noted that a deal has been struck with the captains of the SEA HUSTLER and the MARK TWAIN that will now see the players only paying $15.00 per trip rather than the normal fare of $25.00, as per match days. The SKNFA is also in the process of purchasing a bus which will assist in the transpiration of the players around the Federation and there is also consideration being given to a small stipend for the teams to assist with travel arrangements etc.
He believes that the future is bright for Football in St.Kitts and Nevis.
Also in attendance at the meeting and making their significant input were: Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sports, Mr. Keith Glasgow; Asst Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sports, Ms Michelle Liburd; Ag Director of Sports-Jamir Claxton; Don Grant-SKNFA executive member; Raymond Smith-SKNFA executive member; George Meade –President of the Nevis Football Association; John Guilbert-member of the NFA and Mentrice Arthurton-Secretary of the NFA.