CFU Finals Important to St. Kitts and Nevis Football

Secretary General of the SKNFA, Stanley Jacobs, said “We believe it is an excellent opportunity, not just for our young footballers, but for the federation on a whole. He said a tournament like this can serve to benefit us in many ways; first and foremost by creating the opportunity for our young players, whether at the college level or by securing professional contracts. However, on a broader scale we believe tournaments such as this, helps to raise the profile of St. Kitts and Nevis, especially as a tourist destination.”

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, 23rd November, Jacobs said “We at the SKNFA are very proud to be hosting the tournament which is the first time that we are having the CFU finals here in St. Kitts and Nevis.”

President of the association, Anthony Johnson said the impact that the Olympic qualifiers will have on the under 23 footballers here in St. Kitts and Nevis will also be very positive and should help in their growth and development.

He said, “It’s an exciting time for football in St. Kitts and Nevis, coming on the heels of the World Cup Qualifiers. We want the same experience from Canada to spill over into the under 23 Olympic qualifying tournament. We want the same level of enthusiasm, excitement and patriotism that we saw during the Canada game, where persons came out with their bells, national colours, flags and much more. We want to encourage persons to come out and support the under23 teams and to prove to the Caribbean and the entire world that we are capable of hosting events.”

He added “I would want to encourage persons to purchase tickets early and do not get into the situation where you are stuck in a line waiting to get into the park. We expect the queue to be very long. We also have tickets on sale at the Royal Beach Casino.”

President Anthony Johnson thanked the Caribbean Football Union and CONCACAF for giving St. Kitts the right to host the tournament. He said, “We hosted the preliminary round earlier this year and the fact that we were chosen again is indicative to the confidence the CFU has in the SKNFA to properly host and organise a tournament of this magnitude.”

Johnson also went on to say “this tournament is extremely important because it is another step towards us qualifying for London 2012. The next stage in this qualification is the CONCACAF final round, in order to qualify from this round the top two teams will advance. We here in St. Kitts and Nevis expect our Sugar Boys will be one of those teams that will advance.”

He added “we at the SKNFA have done all that is necessary to ensure that on the field of play the team will exhibit all that is necessary to ensure success.  We also want to recognize the opportunities that are at stake for our footballers, because the next stage will be held in the United States, and this will provide an opportunity for exposure which could potentially lead to professional contracts and college scholarships.”

Johnson Continued “we see football as, not just a sport, but as a social responsibility, because we have a problem in the Caribbean, the issue of crime and violence, as it relates to gang violence and fortunately the ages it relates to is the same age group that is participating in this competition; that is why it is important for us to provide an alternative avenue for development, because some youngsters see crime as their alternative way and we want to say to them that is not the way. We have to tell them that they can excel in playing football. I think our athletes in track and field have demonstrated we can certainly hold our own against all of the lavish countries of the world and we believe with that example our football will continue to excel.”

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