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The Bahamas destination of choice for premier football clubs

  • Hundreds were in attendance as an exhibition match between the Jamaica Reggae Boyz and the Tottenham Hotspur was held at the new Thomas A. Robinson stadium Thursday evening. PHOTOS: AHVIA J. CAMPBELL

  • A number of the premier football clubs have expressed interest and made several inquiries on how to make The Bahamas their destination of choice for off-season training and exhibition games.

  • A number of the premier football clubs have expressed interest and made several inquiries on how to make The Bahamas their destination of choice for off-season training and exhibition games.

Guardian Sports Reporter

Published: May 25, 2013

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General Manger at the National Sports Authority (NSA), Jeffery Beckles confirmed that they are now in discussions with some of the clubs. Beckles noted that if they are successful in their bid, the clubs would start training or hosting exhibition games next year.

“We have gotten several inquiries from European teams who have expressed interest in coming to The Bahamas to either do their training here or host exhibition games,” said Beckles. “This is just the fulfillment of our mandate which is to demonstrate to the global sporting market that we have the willingness to host professional sports at this level. Secondly, it demonstrates to the Bahamian people that we have the ability and the skills here, and here are the reasons why you should participate in these events when they are held here.

“Last night’s (Thursday) participation by our patrons was a demonstration of that. We would have liked to see more Bahamians, but that is a part of the learning curve and we recognize that Bahamians are now learning what it means to be owners of facilities like this, that it is necessary to be able to build a reputation that we are a country for a great vacation and also a sports destination. That is a learning curve that we are going to probably be on for a while.

“I think last night’s (Thursday) game established this country as a viable sporting destination. It is very seldom, and you can go back and check the history of it…we have had very, very few opportunities where we had professional teams of this caliber in any sport compete in The Bahamas. Yes, we have had visitors, members of visiting teams and representation of various sports, but I don’t recall ever having two professional teams at this level worldwide come to this country and play on our soil whether it is baseball, basketball, swimming or track and field. We have not had that kind of display and that should signify to the Bahamian people that times are changing. This is indeed the gateway to the future for The Bahamas for sports marketing. We are very excited, very thrilled and pleased with the partnerships that have come together to make this happen.”

The historic game played at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium between the Tottenham Hotspur and the Reggae Boyz from Jamaica, ended in a scoreless draw. That game is said to be the start of bigger events, whether it is sports or music concerts. Beckles is expecting to hear from more sporting clubs from different disciplines once the other facilities are completed.

He said: “Let’s face it, the stadium was the first of the nine venues. Until we get to the point where we can get that kind of investment in softball, baseball, cycling or any of the other disciplines it is going to take time for us to maximize what we have to get what we need. This venue is our first venue and we have to yield this for everything we have. The stadium is for us. We have to come together and yield this stadium, get as much out of this so we can actually begin to fuel the funding for the completion of the rest of the build out. Once we start doing that, I think you will begin to see more international events, especially within this venue. This is a multi-purpose, multi-use facility. You can have concerts here, track and field or soccer (football). There are so many different things you can do with this stadium. We have to take every opportunity and make it work for us, make sure that we lease this out and generate revenue.”

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