Basseterre, St. Kitts, April 26, 2016 (SKNFA) – Three under-16 footballers from St. Kitts and Nevis were selected Tuesday at the end of a three-day Digicel KickStart Clinic, held at the Warner Park Football Stadium, and will move on to training at the Digicel KickStart Academy in Jamaica in June.
Selected to go to Jamaica to join other players from several regional countries were Dylon Morton, 15, a striker with the Cayon High School; Levanje Liburd, 15, a center player from the Basseterre High School and Antwaun Laville, 14, a mid-fielder from the Washington Archibald High School.
Announcement of the selection was made at the closing ceremony at Football house where the 30 participating school footballers received their certificates of completion of the training provided by three coaches from the Manchester City Football Club.
The Digicel KickStart Clinic teamed up with the St. Kitts-Nevis Football Association (SKNFA) to facilitate the training that started Sunday, April 24. The federation is one of several Caribbean countries involved with the program. The other Caribbean island countries include St. Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados and Jamaica.
The KickStart program is a project of the Digicel Group based in Jamaica. Over the years top-level coaches and teams have been training school footballers in the selected Caribbean countries. The legendary John Barnes and coaches from the Chelsea Football Club have trained the youth footballers in the program in the past. This year, the coaches come from the Manchester City Football Club.
Marketing Manager of Digicel SKN, Marsha Chatterjee, commenting on the selection of the federation to be a part of the program said, “It’s been noticed over the years the potential, the discipline and the hard work that are demonstrated in the under-16 footballers, and for that reason they willingly have come to our shores to conduct the clinic.”
Addressing Digicel’s involvement in such a program, Chatterjee said, “Digicel, well we have always had a passion for sports. We definitely believe that it is a way for students to keep out of trouble and to learn a skill. There are several persons who have graduated from the KickStart Clinic and are now playing for teams overseas. So, we know that they have the skills, and if they have a little more coaching, they can do very well.”
SKNFA Administrative Manager Dexter Tyrell said, “It is very important for the youngsters for them to get exposure to professional training. It will help in the way they think about the game, and importantly, for them to develop as players, as they go on to the next stage in terms of the senior levels. From the SKNFA standpoint, we see it as a perfect opportunity for the youngsters to continue to build on their talent, and hopefully, eventually to get more players braking through to the international circles.”
Partnering with Digicel, the SKNFA provided balls, cones, goals and other support to facilitate the training.
The KickStart Head Coach Lewis Childs explained that the training involved individual skills development, game play and challenging their game understanding. He considered the time to be productive. He stated, “The boys have been fantastic. They did so well. They have a real passion for football, and it was a pleasure to work with them.”
He explained that following the academy training in Jamaica, eight players will be selected for further training at the City Football Academy in Manchester. He said, “What we are trying to do is to inspire these young footballers to continue their football journey, their education – their academics, while keeping them interested in the sport.”