The St. Kitts and Nevis Football Association President Anthony Johnson told members that the 2015-2016 football season was very successful, as he spoke during the organization’s 2016 Congress.
President Johnson said the successes were not only remarkable for the outstanding execution of routine events on the SKNFA calendar, but included were several significant ‘firsts’ that will positively impact the development of football in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.
Among the SKNFA achievements was the introduction of a Sports Injury Insurance Scheme, done in collaboration with the National Caribbean Insurance Company. Johnson said reaching implementation of the scheme was “a six-year long journey”. Today, all 10 Premier League teams have signed onto the insurance scheme, with the likelihood of further expansion.
Johnson said, “Going forward, we will want to see this scheme extended to the Division 1 teams, and to other leagues as well.”
Also introduced for the first time was the General Coordinators Program being used to improve efficiency and effectiveness of match-day preparation and implementation. The president indicated that the program will be expanded in the new season, not just for the Premier League, but to other leagues as well.
For the SKNFA, preparing local football clubs for Club Licensing was also a high priority matter, with an intended introduction for the 2016 – 2017 football season. New regulations mean that clubs that are not licensed by CONCACAF will not be allowed to play. Although, the requirements place additional administrative demands on clubs, they also result in structured organizations that facilitate their own growth and development.
The president was also upbeat about the Match of the Day live broadcast on ZIZ Television. The Saturday night live broadcast from Warner Park focused on the featured game and could be seen online. Johnson expressed appreciation to ZBC and The Cable for making it possible for the matches to be seen by nationals and friends around the world.
Speaking during the July 7 evening SKNFA Congress, Johnson said, “It has made St. Kitts-Nevis football, not only a local sport, in terms of viewership, but you can stay in your homes regionally and internationally, New York or London, and see a Premier League game taking place in Warner Park.”
Perhaps, one of the most important achievements was the short but significant European engagement with football teams from the countries of Andorra and Estonia.
President Johnson remarked, “Even though it came at significant cost to us, it was a very important venture, in that it exposed our players to different circumstances. As a result of that visit, the St. Kitts-Nevis Senior Men’s National Team became the very first team from the Caribbean to defeat a European team on European soil. The experiences gained there have transcended to the Scotiabank Caribbean Cup performances, as the national team has been able to display in the tournament.”
And in regards to the ongoing CFU Scotiabank Caribbean Cup, Johnson reminded the Congress that the National Team is well poised for the third round of the tournament.
“This round is extremely important. Were we to come out of this round, to be held during the period October 5 to 11, and were we to win the cup, it would mean that for the very first time, history would be made, and the team would advance to the CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament,” President Johnson said, as he called for full support of the Senior Men’s National Football Team in its quest.
The president acknowledged the high note on which the 2015-2016 football season ended, by taking note of the success of the Premier League, and the exciting ‘Best of Four’ and the subsequent final.
Johnson said, “We had the completion of what I believe was the most competitive and exciting 2015 – 2016 league, at the Premier and the First Division levels. I wish to congratulate all of the winners of the various competitions held – The President’s Cup, won by S L Horsford St. Paul’s United; The Sugar Mas/Carnival Cup won by FLOW 4G Cayon Rockets; The Easter Cup, won by Winner’s Circle Newtown United; The FA Cup, won by H E Garden Hotspurs; and, of course, the 2015-2016 Premier League champion, the FLOW 4G Cayon Rockets.”
The president also thanked the various sponsors of football and the fans who came out in numbers to watch the various competitions.