Regional beach soccer a super splash for BFA
Published: May 10, 2013
The FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup CONCACAF Qualifier, presently going on at the facility just west of the Sidney Poitier Bridge, is one of the most significant sporting events ever hosted by this country.
With the exception of international sailing, no other sporting discipline has brought to this shore such a rich mixture of nations. The United States, Mexico and Canada are the top echelon of soccer in the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Football Association (CONCACAF) region.
El Salvador, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica, Puerto Rico round out the countries from our region hoping to qualify for the Beach Soccer World Cup, scheduled September 18-28 in Tahiti. Judging by opening day action, an extravaganza is in store.
The qualifier is yet another prime example of the administrative standard of the Bahamas Football Association. The BFA is one of the most entrusted and respected national soccer organizations throughout the world. The organizing of the event has been exemplary, on levels.
It is a wonderful environment at the National Beach Soccer Facility and the way seems paved for many more signature regional and international events.
BFA Vice President/General Secretary Fred Lunn on Wednesday gave the working teams high marks.
“We are just so happy with all who are participating in making this event comfortable and enjoyable. I thought in particular, the little school kids were remarkable as they handled the stray balls and kept new balls coming to avoid any disruption of play. The kids who carried out the flags didn’t miss a beat.
“I have to say, the event got off really nicely,” said Lunn who is convinced the efficient culture advocated by the BFA will be maintained throughout the tournament that ends on Sunday.
The work teams include pacesetters like BFA Office Administrator Millicent Smith, Vice President Larry Minns, Arthur Taylor, Daria Adderley, Craig Knowles, Dion Godet, Pierre LaFleur, Trevor McKenzie, Kim Harrison and Mia Campbell. Others of the BFA support staff and volunteers are on point.
The sports tourism factor is another noteworthy aspect.
Smith informed that some 200 hotel rooms have been taken up by the delegations. This is huge for sports/tourism. According to Lunn, the Ministry of Tourism appreciates the market value of the event for The Bahamas and has contributed accordingly.
As with the official opening of the facility last November, a goodly number of FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association) executives are in town as well as their colleagues from CONCACAF and the Caribbean Football Union (CFU).
Their presence adds very well to the mix and gives a great balance to the excitement of the competition.
If the opening matches were any indication, when the tournament is concluded, there will be many more soccer fans in The Bahamas. Team Bahamas had a good beginning, walloping Puerto Rico 9-1. Puerto Rico is the new kid on the block and it showed. However, The Bahamas with the talented Lesley St. Fleur leading the way could well end up being the real surprise of the qualifier.
Mexico looked incredibly strong in whitewashing Canada 10-0. The defending champions look strong. The United States won 5-2 over Guatemala and El Salvador easily got past Jamaica, 7-2.
What’s happening at the Beach Facility is a good indication of the important contribution the BFA is making to the expansion of the national sports industry.
History is happening. Be a part of it.
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