Fifty years of advancement for national soccer fraternity
A gala dinner, marking 50 years of advancement by the Bahamas Football Association (BFA) is scheduled to take place at the British Colonial Hilton Nassau Hotel beginning tonight at 7 p.m.
It’s a moment in time of great pride for BFA President Anton Sealey and the entire soccer family in The Bahamas. I got a clear sense of inner satisfaction when speaking to Sealey about the affair. He spoke reverently about the occasion, noting that there will be tributes paid to meaningful contributors to sports developments over the last five decades.
The game itself has evolved considerably from the days during World War II when the patriarch of Bahamian soccer, Leroy “Uncle Lee” Archer, led squads against players assigned to British naval ships. Archer, who is one of the great strikers the Caribbean/Pan American region has ever produced, and certainly the best of this country, was prominent in that pre-era of the BFA and also during the embryonic years of the structured organization.
Sealey would understandably be excited at this time, but sober-minded as well, regarding the strides made by soccer. Field play has not taken The Bahamas among the power nations of the region, but there is that later development, beach soccer, in which we excel. Our beach soccer advancement has been huge.
The case in point is the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) Beach Soccer Championship which this week featured the best of the region in the host city of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
The Bahamas lost a well-fought battle, 3-2 to the United States, finishing second in Group C. Stellar, multi-talented young men are carrying the country’s banner in beach soccer quite well. The Bahamas compares favorably with the United States in men’s beach soccer. It is from that backdrop that Sealey and company are set to celebrate tonight.
I extend congratulations to them. It has been my contention for years that the BFA was the best-managed sports organization in the country. I remain with that view. The one disappointment has been the inability of the BFA to engineer the kind of development program that resulted in elevating the nation in field soccer.
As aforementioned though, great steps have been made in beach soccer and that is to the credit of the BFA. Sealey led the initiative for FIFA (International Football Federation) to provide a state-of-the art beach soccer venue on East Bay Street at the foot of the Sidney Poitier Bridge.
From all appearances, in beach soccer, The Bahamas will move from strength to strength. I believe that in the cards are consistent representations on the largest beach soccer platforms with a lot of successes to be counted in years to come.
The past 50 years have been glamorous. Hopefully, led by the beach soccer junkanoo boys, the sport will greatly enhance The Bahamas sports brand regionally and internationally, going forward.
Happy 50th, Bahamian soccer family!
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