David Thompson Classic gets underway
Despite losing a week to the wrath of Hurricane Maria, the 2017 David Thompson Memorial Constituency Councils Football Classic, was able to get off the ground on Sunday. All 30 teams came decked out in new kit as they paraded through the light afternoon showers at the Usain Bolt Sports Complex for the opening ceremony.
Speaking during his address, Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development, Steve Blackett, said that the tournament continues to provide a sound arena for footballers of all levels to show and improve their skills and that this year an avenue would be extended to help players overcome any off-field issues hampering their development.
“We anticipate a higher standard of performance from the players this year and have again made every effort to secure high-quality, experienced and competent coaches for each team. I am happy to say that we have been able to involve a number of players under the age of 20 in all of the teams and additionally, this year’s players will afterwards be expected to become actively involved in our efforts, to assist them in overcoming some of the psycho-social challenges that may be obstructing their progress. The record clearly shows that this tournament is one that provides good family recreation and improved camaraderie and community spirit within and across all life stages. We wish this to continue to be so.” Blackett said.
Making mention of the fact that the tournament was under the sanction of the Barbados Football Association, Minister Blackett went on to say that all were expected to follow the rules. “We have placed even greater emphasis on discipline in all of the matches and at all venues and I expect that the highest standard of conduct normally associated with the David Thompson Constituency Council tournament will be obtained here in 2017. We will not tolerate any form of misconduct from players, spectators or officials that threatens the reputation of this tournament. The rules of the tournament are clear and are in compliance with the rules and the statutes of the Barbados Football Association.” he said.
Going on to share his thoughts on the recent spate of gun crimes, Blackett said that he believed that the tournament remained relevant. “I know that currently there appears to be heightened serious and worrying restlessness among a number of our youth and we are well aware of this, and so we believe that the tournament is needed now more than ever. It will serve as a stabilising mechanism in our communities and the Royal Barbados Police Force has given the assurance that they too have the best interest of the tournament at heart and will be the most reliable partner once more in securing match venues, making their presence felt across the island.” the Minister said.
This year, host team St. John were awarded Best Team on Parade, while St. Thomas were second and St. Michael East, third. The tournament got started with two games as defending champions St. George South took on St. Michael East in the first game of the evening, while St. John squared off against Christ Church East. (MP)