The Sugar Boyz, the St. Kitts and Nevis Senior Men’s National Football Team, is back in the news again. Big Time!
The good news is that the national football team has excelled in the latest rankings released by FIFA today, 14th July. The federation’s team moved 12 places from 92nd position to the 80th position. This is a tremendous achievement said Anthony Johnson, the president if the St. Kitts-Nevis Football Association.
He congratulated the team on the achievement, noting the collaboration that had taken place to make it possible to achieve. Speaking Thursday morning, President Johnson explained, “When we took office in 2009, we, as an executive, set as an objective, among others, the achieving of a ranking below 100. We wanted St. Kitts and Nevis to be ranked among the top 100 teams in the world. Today, we have consecutively achieved that for the last three month.”
But, reaching the 80th position on the FIFA rankings, is just one of the major highlights revealed today. Also released is that St. Kitts and Nevis is now ranked in 7th position in CONCACAF and 3rd in the CFU region. Amazing achievements said the SKNFA president.
According to Johnson, the successes of the team is all part of the strategic planning of the executive and of the hard work that has been displayed by all of the stakeholders over the years. “So, I want to congratulate the entire technical staff, the managerial team and the players of the Senior Men’s Football Team for their consistent and very creditable performances in achieving this historic ranking,” he said.
The president also commended Coach Jacques Passy and his support team, describing their efforts as a “sacrifice and dedication to the task”.
Addressing the dedication and achievements of the team, Johnson stated, “Indeed, I believe the dedication displayed by our team in achieving this ranking, putting St. Kitts-Nevis on the map, demonstrates, as I said recently, that the Sugar Boyz, really, are our true patriots.”
Improving the ranking position is important, Johnson said, to facilitate opportunities for our players to get international contracts with various clubs around the world, and indicated that it has begun to take effect.
He urged the stakeholders, particularly the Public and Private Sectors to play a bigger role in supporting St. Kitts and Nevis football. Johnson explained, “There are ways in which the Public Sector can help. For instance, we have a situation where we bring in our foreign based players for the United Kingdom and elsewhere.”
He continued, “We have been canvasing the Ministry of Tourism for some time now in order to get assistance in airline tickets,” referring, as an example, to seats available on British Airways that can be used by their overseas players, when they must travel between the UK and St. Kitts-Nevis.
He explained that such an arrangement is important in managing the transportation costs of players, and he believes it is workable because it has been done before.
He indicated also there are opportunities for the Private Sector to get involved. He said, “There is an opportunity for the Sugar Boyz to be sponsored. We believed there are businesses out there that can benefit from the partnership with the St. Kitts-Nevis Football Association and the Sugar Boyz in particular.”
President Johnson thanked football fans for their support and reminded of the next round of the CFU tournament, 5th to 11th October, when on the 8th, St. Kitts and Nevis will play French Guiana, on their home soil, then on the 11th October, the Sugar Boyz play Haiti in St. Kitts.
“That round is extremely critical for us. If we come out of that round as the leaders, we would qualify for the Gold Cup, which is a significant and lucrative tournament that takes place in the USA and is a tournament that features the top ranked teams in the CONCACAF region.”
As a run-up to the CFU encounters, a practice match is being planned with a team from Nicaragua on the 31 August in Nicaragua, which would have similar conditions to French Guiana.