St. Kitts and Nevis Football Association (SKNFA) was highly praised for their progressive management of the sport, which has warranted the support of the St. Kitts and Nevis National Olympic Committee. General Secretary of the National Olympic Committee (NOC) Glenville Jeffers on Saturday at a football press conference at Football House sang the praises of the SKNFA in the development of youth football in St. Kitts and Nevis. “The collaboration from the administrative perspective in terms of the FA Executive and the NOC Executive, has been quite good….if we don’t have that good collaboration, the financial assistance and the other things would not fall in line,” Jeffers said.
He noted that the SKNFA has been showing growth in the progress of their respective teams every year. “We have been working with them since the Under 17 team. I see players coming up through the development pipeline. We have seen the Under 20 (football team) in Tampa last year and we know we have a core team that can move forward through to the U-23 level,” he said. Mr. Jeffers pointed out that it is not an overnight success as it takes time to develop a team and get them to the point of Olympic qualification. “I have indicated to President (Anthony) Johnson many times, that this team is going to be your senior national team because of the development the FA has been putting from Grassroots (level) come right through…it takes times,” he said.
Mr. Jeffers’ praises come at on the heels of a good run by the St. Kitts and Nevis U-23 Men’s Football Team, which got beyond a tough group featuring Caribbean powerhouses Jamaica before facing the Dominican Republic last weekend.
Supporting Mr. Jeffers’ sentiments about the SKNFA was Mr. Lester Hanley, the Chef de Mission from the National Olympic Committee for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Team. “One of the things we are very concerned about at the NOC is…the administration of sports. We have seen in one or two of the national federations, where you have a structured administration, a structured team surrounding the federation. We have seen good things. And part of our strategic plan is to help all sports in St. Kitts to develop that foundation,” Hanley said. He praised the support staff of the SKNFA working with the U-23 players and the camaraderie and chemistry shown by the support team in the background. “The administrative support and the ancillary support that comes along with it are very important to get a team to this level,” Hanley said.
The NOC has given in excess of US$60,000 to assist the SKNFA in preparing the U-23 team and has pledged to continue to supporting all sporting federations on St. Kitts and Nevis that have shown a propensity in developing their sport. SKNFA President Anthony Johnson and Head Coach of the U-23 team both echoed their gratitude to the NOC for their support of the U-23 team as it attempted to qualify for the Olympics. Mr. Johnson noted: “The St. Kitts and Nevis Olympic Committee contributed some $US50, 000 towards our preparation for the first stage of the competition, which we won in Jamaica. Just recently, we played a friendly game against Barbados, which we won 3-0, which the St. Kitts and Nevis Olympic Committee contributed significantly in the sum of US$10,000 toward that trip,” he further disclosed.
The NOC, the SKNFA President added, also covered the airline and hotel accommodation costs for overseas-based St. Kitts and Nevis U-23 players who returned to the country last weekend to compete in the match against the Dominican Republic. “The St. Kitts Nevis Olympic Committee is a true partner of the St. Kitts Nevis Football Association and I want to thank them again publicly for their assistance,” Johnson said.