Expectations are high for the staging of this season’s MPR/Babonneau Youth Synergy Invitational Football Tournament, due to run from June 3 to 24.
Soccer is regarded as the most popular sport on island and the Babonneau community is right in line with the passion, enthusiasm and excitement that the game generates among fans. Notably, the competition also aims to help in the fight against crime and to enable young people to channel their energies into a more productive mode.
Towards this cause, the Money, Power & Respect [MPR] Promotions Co. spearheaded by Cleus Dulice and his crew saw the need to initiate the off-season invitational challenge involving eight teams, after a three –year absence of competitive football in the community. He has been an ardent events promoter and has utilized the football challenge in several other communities to bring about the message of involving the youth in meaningful recreational activity.
This was the resounding theme expressed by speakers to the podium, including the corporate sponsors, Thursday evening, at the Babonneau Community Centre for the launch of the event.
The Fond Assau playing field popularly known as ‘the home of football’ in Babonneau will host the challenge, featuring eight clubs, namely; New Generations FC, BT United, Boguis United, Garrand FC, Choppers FC, Sarrot Scorpions, Bays United, and City Foundation.
Sports Minister Kenson Casimir was on hand to lend support to the football challenge. He appealed for more persons from the community to get involved in sports, as Babonneau has produced several outstanding athletes that have exceled in their field of sport, namely; the likes of; Levern Spencer, Kimani Melius, Albert Reynolds and other sports personalities.
The minister used the occasion to continue promoting the establishment of an inaugural Semi-Professional League on island, which he says, has prospects for athletes from the community to earn a livelihood.
“Babonneau, as we all know possesses a rich depository of talent, especially in sports …and we have heard it time and time again that Babonneau perhaps has been one of the best sporting communities in all of Saint Lucia,” declared Casimir.
He looks forward to “see the development thrust in Babonneau continue …and we are certainly hoping that we can get more persons involved.”
And as a show of support to help eradicate the social ills and other illegal activity in the community, Casimir disclosed that a monetary prize of $1,000 will be awarded to the Top Goal Scorer. A corporate sponsor also pitched in with a prize of $500 for the Most Disciplined Team.
The Saint Lucia Football Association [SLFA] Inc. endorsed the event, as the SLFA representative Evastus Augustin noted that the entity is fully committed and supportive of the development of talent in the communities.
Speaking on behalf of the parliamentary representative Dr. Virgina Poyotte, community activist Linus Justin reaffirmed the government and sponsors support for the development of youth and sorts in the community.
He stated that while previously two playing fields were managed, two more grounds in the community have been added for monthly maintenance and several other playing fields in the area have been earmarked for an upgrade.
In an effort to rekindle interest in the game, Tournament Director Aldrick Edward explained that since club structure has slightly dwindled in the community, the tournament will involve four home teams and four invitational clubs to compete in a two –way home and away series. The winners of these preliminary round matches will advance to the semi-finals and the finalists will battle for the championship trophy and title prize.