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Soccer qualifier emphasizes missed sports opportunities

  • Senator Desmond Bannister.


Published: May 11, 2013

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The FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2013 CONCACAF Qualifier is being carried all over by Fox Cable Network. As of the first day, Wednesday of this week, a lot of exciting images have been flashed around the world.

Unfortunately, the backdrop of most of those picture scenes, were empty seats, many of them.

This is an element that must be addressed, in particular by the Ministry of Education. Whenever there is a sporting event (regional or international) being hosted here, large bodies of students should be afforded the opportunity to witness the athletic proceedings.

Several years ago, not too long before his party lost central governing power, the then Education Minister Desmond Bannister established an After School Sports Department, headed by Evan Wisdom. The general purpose I think of such a program, would be to connect fundamentally, the students in our system, to sports on the highest level possible.

I know Bannister to hold a strong position in that regard. My view is that inclusive within the concept, is ensuring that students get to watch firsthand the top brand of sporting competitions that the country can provide for them.

So, we have the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) and the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF), through the Bahamas Football Association (BFA), bringing to this country the best brand of beach soccer in the region.

On stage are the power nations – United States, Mexico, Canada and the finest of the Caribbean. Our students should bear witness to this kind of action. It certainly can be educational for them, entertaining and culturally enlightening.

Why couldn’t an arrangement have been made to bus loads of children to the BFA Beach Facility at the bottom of the Sidney Poitier Bridge on East Bay Street for the opening matches, again on Thursday and Friday?

It would have been a field trip worth the while, serving a lot of positive purposes. The shots beamed around the world by FOX Network would have had those young faces exhibited, giving world soccer quite a healthy look.

We’ve missed an opportunity once again.

The suggestion here is that the After School Sports Department seek to bring the students of The Bahamas more into the mix with events such as the Beach Soccer Qualifier. We must focus on keeping our students well placed in the big picture.

Think of the delight for young students to be able to possibly shake hands with the finest beach soccer players in the region and also watch them perform. The thrill would last them lifetimes.

Yes, we missed the opportunity.

FIFA, CONCACAF, the BFA and other like organizations can only do so much. The Ministry of Education must begin playing a larger role through its After Schools Program to have our students exposed to special experiences like the Beach Soccer Qualifier.


• To respond to this column extra, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at sturrup1504@gmail.com


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