The 14 players arrive this Saturday (October 8) to participate in the October 09 to 13 tournament that will be contested by an All-Star team from St. Kitts, and from Nevis as well as a select team assembled by the St. Kitts and Nevis Football Association (SKNFA).
Minister responsible for Sports, Glenn Phillip told SKNIS that he was excited to see this pilot initiative, officially launched in June this year, come to fruition.
“All along we thought that an event like this would do tremendous good for the people of St. Kitts and Nevis, simply because we would be deepening relations with Brazil,” he said, while highlighting the economic and sporting linkages being fostered under this competition. “This is an opportunity for us as a people to exchange cultures with the Brazilians that are coming here.”
Plans for the inaugural tournament have been altered somewhat. Chief organizer Eduardo Prada of Prada Sports and Marketing indicated that three Football Clubs in Brazil expressed an interest in participating in the event. However, all players were not able to obtain a travel visa from the United States Embassy thus making it impossible for them to contest the 2011 tournament. In fact, six members of the visiting team from Limeira, São Paulo, were not able to travel for the same reason.
“The process is terrible in Brazil. If you submit [a visa application] in August, you will be scheduled to have an interview in January next year,” he explained. However, Mr. Prada expressed pleasure with developments for the upcoming visit noting that the players were keen to kickoff the tour.
The first matches will be held on Sunday, October 09 at the Silver Jubilee Athletic Stadium. It features the SKNFA select team versus the TIÉ Soccer Team at 10:00 a.m. The second game will be contested by the Nevis All-Stars and the St. Kitts All-Stars at 11:30 a.m.
The Brazilians will also be kept busy off the field visiting popular tourist sites and shopping plazas. The players, who are also businessmen, are expected to meet with local entrepreneurs. Additionally Coach Marcos will facilitate a football clinic for students 15 years or below on Wednesday, October 12, at the Warner Park Football Stadium at 3:00 p.m.
Minister Phillip thanked Prada Sports and Marketing, the Brazilian Embassy, the St. Kitts Ministry of Tourism, local companies LIME, Kajola Kristada and the St. Kitts Marriott Resort as well as the SKNFA for partnering with the Ministry of Sports to make the Paradise Cup a reality. He added that he was delighted to expose locals to Brazilian-styled football while promoting business interests between the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis and the Federative Republic of Brazil.