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Carmona endorses ball distribution programme
Underprivileged communities from across T&T are set to benefit from the T&T Football Association’s (TTFA) Youth Football Clinics, where 15,000 virtually indestructible footballs will be distributed by the end of this year courtesy of a global collaboration between vehicle Chevrolet and One World Futbol.
This year, T&T will see a rise of football at the grassroots level, with the target group of primary school children between the ages of 6 and 12 years, who will join the overall recipients of 1.5 million balls over a three-year period.
Starting in Blanchisseuse on Saturday, the clinics, will run on a weekly basis until May and will continue from September to December.
This under the guidance of 150 coaches, who were certified last year by the TTFA. Such is the importance of the drive of playing football at the primary school level that President Anthony Carmona has given his endorsements.
Carmona launched the programme yesterday at the VIP Lounge of the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port-of-Spain.
TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee was also present at the launch, where he said the initiative was ideal in the association’s recent thrust in promoting football at the grassroots.
“The industry has not been consistent here in terms of following process,” said Tim Kee, who also said that the project, starting with a “shoreline initiative” is an indication of the TTFA’s vision, as they seek talent from all corners of T&T.
TTFA technical director Anton Corneal will oversee the programme, while Mary Siu Butt, a former national hockey standout is the chief coordinator. Siu Butt, who was chairperson of the former Stern John Skills Programme, was selected, according to Tim Kee, because of her love for sport.
In his address, President Carmona stressed on the importance of youth development through sport.
“It is undeniable that young people involved in sport lead more purposeful lives. They learn teamwork, discipline, respect, value of community and how to strive for excellence.
“Through sport, there is a heightened sense of national pride, as a citizen becomes a patriot. This brings to mind the late Akeem Adams, a young man who progressed through the junior years with the Under-17 and U-20 national teams, to the Pro League and then to Europe where he made a name for himself and the nation. It grieves me to think about him,” said Carmona.
Carmona offered praise for the national U-20 women’s team, which lost out on qualification for the Fifa U-20 Women’s World Cup by virtue of a crushing 7-3 extra-time defeat to Costa Rica in the Concacaf Championship third-place play-off, on Sunday.
He said the girls displayed grit and determination to become genuine contenders.
“My hearty congratulations (to the team). I can tell you that I felt a great sense of pride, national pride, and joy when I saw how those women fought for the Republic of T&T.”
Carmona commended the T&TFA for the programme, which he said will be to the benefit of the national community.
Also thanking Chevrolet, Carmona said, “We need to have more of our corporate citizens demonstrating their commitment to national and international development.”
The programme will open in Blanchisseuse and continue in Maracas, Las Cuevas and La Fillette. From there, according to Siu Butt, an announcement of the remaining venues will be forthcoming. She said there is no particular limit to the number of participants at the clinics.
The clinics will last for 90 minutes, and are organised in a circuit-type format. Ten balls will be provided to every primary school in T&T upon the conclusion of the programme.
The ball, which can be used on any surface, is nearly indestructible, never needs a pump and never goes flat, even when punctured.