Tue | Aug 14, 2018

The eight year wait - Liguanea returns to KSAFA competitions

Published:Saturday | December 16, 2017 | 12:00 AMMarc Stamp
Mark Cobran (centre) of Liguanea United shields the ball from Paul Williams of Elletson Flats in their Major League football match at the National Stadium in October 1975. At right is Liguanea’s goalkeeper Robert Noble. Liguanea United won the game 3-0.
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Liguanea United FC is back in the Kingston and St Andrew Football Association (KSAFA) competitions after eight years in the wilderness.

The club participated in the KSAFA/Milo Under-13 and KSAFA/ Nesfruity competitions earlier this season and will now make a return to the Magnum/Major League competition.

"In an attempt to bring back the club, we entered the KSAFA Under-13 and Under-15 competitions. And, we are also in the Major League that is set to start on Sunday (tomorrow)," said coach of Liguanea United, Andre Virtue during an interview with The Gleaner yesterday.

"I wanted to focus predominantly on the youth leagues, but they (KSAFA) told me that I still had to enter Major League, which was not in the plan initially, but that is a requirement," he shared.

"We are very satisfied with the performances in the youth leagues. First time coming back, we missed out on the semi-final in the Under-13 by coming second in our zone. In the Under-15, we went to the semi-finals and lost on penalty kicks to Santos," Virtue added.

"Our first game in the Major League is against Duhaney Park on Sunday. It is good opportunity for us, some of the players, the last time they played was for Liguanea in youth competition. They have the opportunity to play again. They will be complimented by quite a number of our younger players," he outlined.

"We are looking forward to it. However, Major League is not our end results. We are doing it as an intention as part of the overall preparation. Liguanea United is an extension of the work I am doing with Ballaz International Academy. Some of the players will be integrated into the Liguanea team," he assured.

 

SMALL EXECUTIVE

 

Virtue, who is also vice-president of the club pointed out that they have a small executive in place because they want to carefully put in other persons.

"Anthony Simpson is the president and Kurt Anderson is the acting general secretary at the moment. A lot of people want to be involved, but we don't want a bomb rush. We want to be careful, and some people won't get involved until they see things moving. We have people helping and volunteering, but not in the executive. We have a good team of support," he said.

"Over the years, a lot of people from the Stand Pipe and Liguanea areas have been training with me. The young players specifically have asked about entering competitions. I stayed away from it because I just never wanted to get involved in the competitive side of stuff," Virtue shared.

"We have a number of players who are playing for different clubs. They are all over the place and we can't keep them together. I am not necessarily getting to mentor them and other things. This gives an opportunity, having spoken to Mr Simpson and other past Liguanea players. I was invited to get involved and that discussion was ongoing for four years," he revealed.

"And that discussion between us and the club just came to fruition this year. It has a number of levels to it; one is to give our players an opportunity with the coaching. We have an opportunity to get the players to play competitive and get experience that is an important part of the step. And, from the stand point that a number of players died for different reasons. Football can bring communities together," added Virtue, who is a former Jamaica College and Real Mona star midfielder.

"I represented Real Mona, but people in the area let me consider this move to Liguanea. I don't want to go to another funeral or hear about another player that died by the gun," he said.

"One of the thing is to officially re-launch Liguanea to the public ... once the thing is moving we want the help of the media to get the public aware of the history of Liguanea. We will do that in the first quarter of the new year," he said.