FOOTBALL IS BACK: OFFICIALS EXPRESS ELATION
After almost a year break due to the impact of the COVID-19 lockdowns in 2021, competitive domestic football returned to St. Kitts and Nevis last week Wednesday with the St. Kitts and Nevis Football Association’s (SKNFA) President’s Cup at the Warner Park. The match was played between S.L. Horfords St. Paul’s United and St. Peters F.C. It was a festive atmosphere and one that saw even the arrival of the Queen’s Baton Relay making in St. Kitts and Nevis. The Queen’s Baton Relay is part of the promotion of the 2022 Commonwealth Games, where the Games’ torch is featured in all the countries in the British Commonwealth.
President of the St. Kitts and Nevis Olympic Committee (SKNOC) Alphonso Bridgewater spoke of the return of football on the occasion of the Baton’s arrival. “It’s a pleasure on several fronts. First of all, to be able to see football under less COVID restrictions; you could see that the people were glad. And we are happy that the Queen’s Baton is here to be part of this celebration,” he said.
President of the SKNFA Atiba Harris was pleased with the turnout at the President’s Cup and said this is a signal that football is back. “We are looking forward to great things; continuation of the 2021 season, looking forward to completion of it so that our people in St. Kitts and Nevis could finally enjoy the sport they love,” Harris said after the trophy presentation to St. Paul’s who won the President’s Cup match 1-0. “Based on the crowd tonight, we are anticipating full house every game going forward.”
Meanwhile, Manager of the St. Paul’s United Derionne Edmeade was thrilled that football is back. “It’s always good to have the game…just for us being here in the environment; nothing compared to what we would feel on our own field practicing. Just looking out and seeing the fans, brought back the joy of what we would have been missing over a year…we are happy being here at Warner Park playing football again,” he said.
Coach of the St. Peters F.C. Anthony “Nets” Isaac spoke of the impact the return of the sport has on the fans and the players. “It’s a joy coming back and to see the fans coming out to watch the game that all of us love,” he said.
Newly minted coach of the Rams Village Superstars Kimaree Rogers also expressed similar sentiments. “It’s a good thing for us, because we are coming back after along break. We have everybody back from injury. Now we are just trying to get the points and trying to make the (Super) Six and to try get back our championship (title),” he said.
Coach of Hotsprings Bath United Alex Claxton said the return of football is a welcome development for his players. “It’s good to have football once again. The players were training and playing in different tournaments and so we were more or less getting ourselves organized and ready for the restart of the tournament,” Claxton said.
The SKNFA Premier League games will be played on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at the Warner Park while Division 1 matches are slated for Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Kim Collins Stadium.