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'Aim is development for kids' - Virtue underlines focus of Digicel Grassroots programme at Manchester leg

Published:Tuesday | January 22, 2013 | 1:00 AM
Young footballers depict keen interest as Sheldon Davis (back to camera), local coach for Mile Gully FC and Manchester daCosta Cup team, presents coaching tips during last Saturday's Digicel Grassroot Football clinic at Church Teachers' College in Mandevlille. - photo by Richard Bryan

 Richard Bryan, Gleaner Writer

MANCHESTER became the 10th parish to benefit from the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) Grassroot Football Development series - which is conducted in conjunction with local communication giants Digicel - at the weekend at Church Teachers' College in Mandeville.

While there was not a lot of visible support, in terms of the amount of parents or fans on the sidelines, there was a lot of enthusiasm shown by the kids. There was just over 30 local coaches, who participated in both the lecture and practical demonstration exercise.

Among the primary presenters at the coaching seminar was former coach of the national womens' team, Vin Blaine, while Barry Watson, the Manchester Football Association's technical committee chairman, coordinated the efforts of the local contingent.


Coordinator of the islandwide Digicel Grassroots Football programme, André Virtue, said he appreciated what he saw.

"We budgeted for 100 kids and we got like 98, so I was happy with the turn-out," he told The Gleaner.

He said he was not perturbed about concerns of the visibility of the marketing aspects of the programme.

"The PR aspect is the least for me, the aim is development for the kids. We just provide the exposure to the development process, but it is the parishes which are left with the responsibility to do the follow-up."

He also told The Gleaner that the JFF, with a special donation from FIFA, stands ready to provide help in terms of equipment and technical support for this follow-up, but this was contingent on the kind of report received from each parish.

Dalton Wint, president of the Manchester FA, admitted that without the prospect of such a support, parishes like Manchester would not be able to successfully attempt such a developmental exercise. He said plans have been drafted to hold four strategic clinics in Manchester and these would be included in his report to the JFF.

The series will move to Clarendon (Saturday, January 25), followed by St Catherine, before it closes with the Kingston and St Andrew leg.