President of the Republic, His Excellency Anthony Carmona offered some words of praise to the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association for its initiative with the TTFA Youth Football Community clinics which started in Blanchisseuse on Saturday.
Carmona attended the launch of the programme the previous week at the Hasely Crawford Stadium and again turned up for the opening clinic under sweltering heat at the Blanchisseuse Secondary School on Saturday morning. Also present were TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee, general secretary Sheldon Phillips and clinic coordinator Mary Siu-Butt.
Eighty youngsters from the Blanchisseuse, Las Cuevas and La Fillet area took part in the clinic which was overseen by TTFA technical director Anton Corneal with women’s national coach Marlon Charles, Desiree-Ann Sargeant, Muhammad Isa, Kenwyne Cooper and national women’s players Maylee Attin-Johnson and Anique Walker serving as assistant coaches.
“I wish to say that you all are doing great job at trying to lift our youth through their involvement in sport and football,. This is a wonderful opportunity for our youngsters,” Carmona said.
He further advised the youngsters to mix their academic studies with sporting activity.
“Long time ago parents used to say you either get into sports or you get into your studies. But I am asking you, because health is important, that you get involved in both aspects of life, and that is getting involved in sport and I want you all to beat your books, study hard, listen to your parents because you will find that when you are offered football scholarships it will be based on your education also. Remember books and sports can work together,” Carmona told the youngsters as he addressed them at the start of Saturday’s clinic. He also made reference to Shaka Hislop, telling the children that he was an engineer but also one of the top goalkeepers produced by the country, one who played in the English Premiership and is now a commentator with cable TV network ESPN.
Corneal urged the youngsters to follow their dreams, saying that it started on the field in Blanchisseuse.
“This here is opportunity. I want you all to dream. Dream to be a top player,” Corneal said. “We have these balls being distributed all over our country. This is a skill ball which you will use to develop your touches and become a better player. We are making sure that these areas will have enough footballs to start a programme.
“Let no one stop you. It’s tied in hand in hand with the schools and for the parents, this is the best investment you can make in your kids,” Corneal added.
The TTFA has teamed up with Lifestyle Motors, Bmobile and BG T&T for the clinics that will continue over the coming months in several communities.
Dubbed the TTFA Youth Football Community Clinics, the programme is the TTFA grassroots initiative designed to encourage boys and girls to play football in a fun, nurturing and non-competitive environment.
Highlighting the 16-week grassroots programme will be the distribution of close to 15,000 nearly indestructible footballs provided by OneWorldFutbol and Chevrolet.