Tuesday, Nov 19, 2019
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Soccer outlook-Part III

Bahamas Football Association(BFA)President Anton Sealey, enthused over new facilities that are to be in place relatively soon, is optimistic about the future of his organization.

A beach soccer field(the new world craze), will be provided by Kerzner International at the foot of the west bridge in the Malcolm Park area. A first-rate international field will be a part of the infield of the state-of-the-art National Stadium. With the field in the Baillou Hills Sporting Complex and the various soccer venues at high schools in the country, the BFA will be well-positioned to produce top-level players and also attract the cream of the crop from the outside.

It figures to be a new and exciting environment that will boost soccer in a grand way here in The Bahamas. Yes, the president is excited.

He is talking about the BFA organizing annual”showcase”events, and inviting countries like Jamaica, the Cayman Islands and other Caribbean teams in to participate in a competitive forum. It will be a fabulous setting for recruiters from the United States and Canada in particular.

“I think within 24 months we will have an added dimension to our facilities. The beach field at the bottom of the new bridge and the venue at the National Stadium will bode well for the local development of soccer. This is a tremendous opportunity for us and it is incumbent on the BFA to enable the entire soccer family to take full advantage of the situation.

“We’ve had our challenges. We’ve not been able to get any league play going for our ladies. This is unfortunate

because our national women’s teams have done very well in the past. Thus far though we’ve not been able to get enough teams functioning to establish a league for the women.

“Then, there is the manpower shortage. We have just about 10-12 officials and they have to be available all the time because four of them are needed for each match. It’s been tough, but, we are determined to expand the competition. We are starting a masters league. There are the youth league and regular league. By March hopefully, we will have a senior female league going,”said Sealey.

Consistent female soccer advancement has been difficult for the BFA. Now, the organization will focus on an under-15 category in hopes of ensuring the”progression of our talented players,”added Sealey.

Actually, the women’s potential in soccer is equal to that of the men. Several years ago, the local national women’s team met the Dominican Republic in that country, defied the hometown element and pushed their opponents to the limit, losing a very close match. I congratulate the BFA for the planned concentration on women’s soccer. I believe our female players will do a lot boost the status of Bahamian soccer.

The BFA has been the standard for efficient sports administration. To that end, the BFA has done what no other local sporting organization has been able to do, host a major international congress. The Federation Internationale de Football Association(FIFA)is happy with the soccer leadership in The Bahamas.

(End of series. To respond to this column, kindly contact frobertsturrup@gmail.com)