ICWI boosts KSAFA U13, U15 competitions
NEWLY elected president of the Kingston and St Andrew Football Association (KSAFA) Ambassador Stewart Stephenson welcomed a $1 million sponsorship package from the Insurance Company of the West Indies (ICWI) towards their Under-13 and Under-15 competitions.
The competitions which were originally scheduled to kick off in July, were pushed back due to the lack of sponsorship, and will now get under way today, with action in the Under-13 category at the National Water Commission playing field. The Under-15s will bow into action on Wednesday.
Stephenson, who was returned to the helm of the most powerful confederation in the island earlier this month after unseating former president Rudolph Spied, is optimistic that more sponsors will follow suit.
"You have to create a track record of leadership, you have to create trust and you have to produce accountability every time you get a sponsorship dollar. This is why we have no problem in believing that there are more sponsorship of this nature to come from quality companies," he told reporters at the competitions launch at the ICWI offices yesterday.
He added that they always gave "credence" to the companies who are faced with "choices" to deliver their profit elsewhere in a "market driven economy", and as such this partnership is very timely.
"We as leaders in football have to sell ourselves to say we have a product. The product is football and the benefit is the development of our young people through the game, because through the game they can get scholarships. That is why we invest so heavily in our age group programme, and we think that this synergy with the ICWI is excellent.
"We could not disappoint the youngsters because they have been in training for months now for this competition. There are a lot of young stars for Jamaica's future out there, and this competition will ensure that we get to showcase our skills at these young levels which are the base of our age group programmes and then we take it from there."
Meanwhile, ICWI's vice-president of marketing Samantha Samuda stated that her company is very excited to give back to the community and Jamaica's youth.
"ICWI over the years has always taken an active part in the development of youth and children. We have a foundation whose mandate is early childhood education and development, so this was a natural fit for us.
"It goes without saying that children are the future and it is our responsibility in corporate Jamaica to play an active part in ensuring that they have bright futures. We have seen in Jamaica that sports and sporting events have done a lot to propel Jamaicans and we have seen a lot of success stories coming out of the KSAFA competitions," she told the Jamaica Observer.
The ICWI/KSAFA competitions will be played over the next three weekends. The Under-13 will be 11 versus 11, while the Under-15 will be nine versus nine, with both tournaments having unlimited substitutions.
Each zone will comprise four teams playing each other in the first round with the winners advancing to the quarter-finals. That will be followed by the semi-finals, third and fourth-place play-off and the final.
Both tournaments will receive $500,000, with the winners getting $25,000 and the runners-up receiving $20,000. Third and fourth place will receive $15,000 and $10,000, respectively.