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Downswell applauds VM Foundation for youth football development

Published:Friday | April 12, 2019 | 12:13 AMKavarly Arnold/Gleaner Writer
(From left) Wendell Downswell, Technical Director, Jamaica Football Federation; Mrs. Suzette Ramdanie-Linton, Western Regional Manager; David Watt, Vice President of the St James Football Association and Naketa West, Manager, VM Foundation share thoughts during the launch of the VM Foundation Under-13 Football Competition on April 10, 2019 at the UDC Playing Field, Montego Bay, St James.
(From left) Wendell Downswell, Technical Director, Jamaica Football Federation; Mrs. Suzette Ramdanie-Linton, Western Regional Manager; David Watt, Vice President of the St James Football Association and Naketa West, Manager, VM Foundation share thoughts during the launch of the VM Foundation Under-13 Football Competition on April 10, 2019 at the UDC Playing Field, Montego Bay, St James.

National football technical director Wendell Downswell, who gave the keynote address at the opening ceremony and kick-off of the Victoria Mutual Foundation/St James Football Association Under-13 Football Competition at the UDC field on Wednesday, applauded the foundation’s long-standing sponsorship of a competition that has played a significant role in football development in the country.

The 32-team competition, which will see winners walk away with $30,000, kicked off with defending champions Granville Primary School getting the better of Anchovy Primary 2-0 in the opening game.

“For the vision on the part of VMBS to sponsor the competition for 29 years is tremendous. It is the longest-serving youth competition in Jamaica, and I think it speaks volumes to youth development in St James, western Jamaica, and to the country at large,” Downswell said.

Downswell also believes that the tournament provides a good opportunity for the players to showcase their talents as high-school scouts from as far as Kingston use it for recruitment.

“We get to understand that this is a happy hunting ground for the scouts as far as Kingston, the JC (Jamaica College), Kingston College (KC), and others. From that perspective, it serves a great purpose. Of course, the high schools (in this region), in the likes of Cornwall College and others, benefit immensely. Also, the parish association uses it as their nursery for their respective competitions, starting at the Under-13 level,” Downswell said.

“As it relates to opportunities for these youngsters, it’s an excellent platform for them to showcase their talents. Here is also where they develop the love, passion, and conviction for the sport. From a historical standpoint, a lot of players would have passed through. Some go on to represent Jamaica at the youth World Cup level,” he added.

CERTIFYING COACHES

Downswell also said that he would like to see a programme geared towards the certification of the coaches in the competition.

“I would like to see the parish association working in conjunction with VMBS to certify the coaches at the parish level. This would improve the competence of the coaches so they will be better able to pass on the knowledge to the players in a more efficient way using modern trends and best practices,” Downswell said.