EPL club Brentford reaches out to KSAFA with football giftSaturday, September 18, 2021
BY SHERDON COWAN
President of the Kingston and St Andrew Football Association (KSAFA) Wayne Shaw welcomed a donation of equipment from English Premier League (EPL) club Brentford FC.
Shaw's reaction came shortly after the gear was officially handed over by chief executive of Making Connections Work (MCW) Rudi Page during a brief ceremony at the Bank of Novia Scotia Sports Club in Liguanea on Thursday.
“Basically, all the equipment will be given to all the clubs in KSAFA so we will share it equally. This is not our first shipment from them, we have other things down at the office and as you can see we have some barrels there. So it will be shared for the clubs and as the partnership gets stronger, I know more things will come from them,” Shaw told the Jamaica Observer.
The British-born Page, who has affiliation to St Mary, was vital in making the connection between KSAFA and Brentford, who are playing Premier League football for the first time since the 1946-47 season.
Brentford, nicknamed ''The Bees”, is also the home of Reggae Boyz defender Ethan Pinnock. They had a dream start to their EPL campaign beating Arsenal 2-0, but currently occupy 10th position on five points in the 20-team league.
Shaw believes the partnership with Page, and, by extension, the connection with Brentford, is even more significant, as it includes the possibility of having scouts from the West London-based club, making the trek to Jamaica to view some of the country's talent when the KSAFA competitions return.
Until then though, Shaw says the focus for now is on conducting online coaching and management seminars.
“It is very significant, this has been in the making from they were playing in the championship and I just want to say thanks to Mr Page and Football Futures and Middlesex FC, as well as Chris James who was very instrumental in getting this partnership,” Shaw shared.
“It can only be good for KSAFA and we need more partnerships like these. KSAFA, we don't have a lot of money and if we were to play the Super and Major League, it is going to cost a lot of money.
“So whatever partnerships we can have with people like Mr Page and his company it will help us. We haven't discussed monetary contribution or stuff like that as yet but we will get there,” he added.
For Page, who prides himself on developing positive engagement and collaborative working relationships, pointed out that the partnership with KSAFA is multi-layered.
According to Page, who also conceptualised the Football Futures programme that is supporting KSAFA, one layer will focus on community economic development through young people, while the other comprises organisational transformational activities through Brentford FC's community support trust and Middlesex Football Association.
“Everything is based on relationships, so what we will be doing, particularly through this pandemic which has obviously kind of changed plans, is to build relationships and understanding between KSAFA executive and the senior leadership between Middlesex FA. That is the technical side and eventually it will lead to more resources to support youth football here in Jamaica,” Page, who also partnered with KSAFA on the Valeo Academy project, explained.
He continued: “Our strategy is clear, young people need somewhere to go, they need something to do and they also need someone to show them how and having said that, KSAFA as an organisation is responsible for young people.
“To us, that makes sense because football is a tool for community development and youth development, their productivity and just improving the neighbourhood. So again, that's why football has an integral part to play when it comes to inspiring inclusive, peaceful, caring and enterprising neighbourhoods.
To elaborate further on the community-based layer of the partnership, Page revealed that they will be launching a primary school initiative where they will first engage August Town and Padmore Primary schools with hopes of expanding across the island.
“That is important to me because we need to have an example of what we call proven by practice. So what we want to do is show how working with the schools and working with the football associations and community in an international context with Diaspora involvement can make a difference. So, the aim is to develop that model that can be replicated to all communities around the country,” Page noted.
Meanwhile, Shaw was also excited about that initiative for which KSAFA will lead the execution after Page's team crafts the framework.
“That is a new aspect of their help to us and so we will be having a meeting at the end of the month and then we will go into detail with that. But it can only get better, because as you know with KSAFA, we are very strong on youth so it is good that we start from there and go right up,” he said.