Robert Bailey, Gleaner Writer
The inaugural staging of the Samsung Cup youth football tournament is expected to provide a lot of fun and excitement for the participating teams as it seeks to advance sports, recreation and wellness among Jamaica's youth.
Patricia Laufer, marketing manager, Samsung Electronics Latin America, said the tournament will help to nurture the development of the country's aspiring footballers.
"It is truly a privilege for Samsung to present the Samsung Cup Tournament for the first time here in Jamaica," said Laufer during yesterday's press launch, which was held at Devon House in St Andrew. "We are very excited to support programmes such as this popular youth football tournament and to develop further initiatives that promote physical wellness and education for the youth in Jamaica."
The tournament will consist of 48 prep and primary schools and will feature players ages eight to 11, for a total of 672 players. The tournament will be divided between urban and rural regions, each further subdivided into four zones, with six teams per zone.
The winning school of the tournament will receive a US$10,000, a media room fully equipped by Samsung, and rural and urban winners will be awarded trophies and medals.
Official Samsung ambassador
Former national captain Ricardo 'Bibi' Gardner is the official Samsung ambassador for this year's tournament.
Laufer pointed out that young people are the future of Jamaica and Samsung is highly committed to advancing such initiatives that foster sports and recreational activities.
"The incredible support of our local partners and of the Jamaican people has been instrumental in the staging of the Samsung Cup Tournament 2013. Jamaicans have proven their growing interest in Samsung and we want to reinforce our dedication to give back to the community for the betterment of the country and its youth," Laufer said.
Samsung has also partnered with the Usain Bolt Foundation, which will be providing all the footballs used in the tournament. Bolt said his organisation is delighted to be associated with the Samsung Cup because it will help with the development of the nation's youths.
"As the Usain Bolt Foundation continues to focus on one of our core values, a child's opportunity to 'Dare to Dream', we will seek partnerships with organisations that create initiatives that promote these values," said Bolt. "We are delighted to be able to support the Samsung Cup, as football is a game I personally enjoy playing, and applaud them for making this investment in Jamaica's children."
Jamaica Football Federation's president, Captain Horace Burrell, in expressing delight for the tournament, thanked the sponsors for their support in helping with the development of the sport.
"I endorsed this programme wholeheartedly because you see when the kids are taught the basics at this level, it certainly gives them a firm foundation from which to launch their football career," said Burrell.
The competition is set to begin on November 9.