With a strong emphasis on developing football generally and a focus on women’s football on the island, the Saint Lucia Football Association (SLFA) plans to attract more females to the sport.
At a media launch this week, the SLFA representatives provided an update on the activities in store for the 3rd edition of Women’s Football Month (WFM).
The SLFA will highlight the theme: ‘Let Them Play’ to arouse more interest and female participation in the sport.
SLFA Women’s Football Coordinator Mary Liz Campbell revealed there will be several exciting events from this month stretching into December.
Campbell said the SLFA has designated November as Women’s Football Month and part of the activities will include a competition to select a jingle for Women’s Football matches.
“The SLFA remains committed to women’s football and will do all in its power to assist in the development of girls’ and women’s football across the board,” declared Campbell.
She acknowledged the input of the “women involved in football” both at home and overseas and the contributions they made towards the sport’s development in Saint Lucia.
The SLFA official appealed for more public and corporate support, adding that: “In so doing, we ask for the support of the schools, clubs, leagues, coaches, and the parents.”
To assist with the implementation of the WFM programme the SLFA put together a Women’s task Force.
The Task Force comprises Chairperson- Examin Philibert, Carissa Bellas, Chantal John, Sophia Charlemagne and Liz Campbell.
A Planning Committee to execute the activities consists of Dara Leon, Chermalyn Albert, Anita Biroo, Fiola Joseph, Novia Regis, Nadja Duboulay, and WF coordinator Campbell.
“This is really a period in which we highlight Women’s Football in Saint Lucia to bring to the attention of the public that there is women’s football, here,” noted SLFA’s General Secretary Victor Reid.
“And we are seeking the support of all women and girls in developing the sport in Saint Lucia,” he added.
“Moving forward, the SLFA is set on employing a new strategy …to attract more women and girls in playing the sport, in administration, and in providing general support to the game,” said Reid.
The SLFA also has its sights on “professionalising” the women’s team, in like manner as the males, and so, “whatever it takes, whatever we have to do to get the girls and motivate them and to sustain the motivation we will attempt to do that,” he stated.
SLFA’s Assistant General Secretary Evastus Augustin said more league affiliates will get more support next year to develop the sport.
Regarding the Structure of the National Women’s Football, Augustin said a review will focus on implementing a Strategy to develop the sport.
There will also be a focus on further developments and improvements in the women’s coaching programme.
Concacaf introduced the Women’s Development Initiative in 2015, Augustin explained, and “As part of that mandate, the SLFA embraced it … and initiated a series of programmes”.
“Part of these programmes entailed a Strategic Plan or Strategic Plans, which evolved over the years and normally it has a cycle of four (4) years,” he added.
At the time, he explained, the SLFA embarked on a systematic journey targeting female from the secondary schools on the island “to make football the number one sport of choice.”
Augustin said that subsequently, “resources and finances were pumped into that programme and we had in excess of 400 females playing football.”
The SLFA official recalled that a national team was selected consisting of players from around the island and “we were able to put forward a formidable team that took part in the Female Challenge Series, in Florida.”
Augustin said since then, there has been a gradual development in women’s football, and Saint Lucia stands in the reckoning in regional circles.
Moving on, he said, the SLFA has been trying its utmost “to ensure that we maintain a focus, as mandated by FIFA to ensure that the funds used are meant to develop women’s football.”
He explained that part of the SLFA’s plans was to have specific committees at the league level, such as the Development Committee involved in this latest activity.
Nonetheless, Augustin observed that the support among the 19 affiliates at the league level, “and the output (generated) has not been what is excepted.”
He noted that over the years, when women’s competition is ongoing, “the support or the turnout is less than desirable.”
He added: “We are working to ensure that additional resources are pumped in…and we have gone back to the drawing board to invite and encourage many more females to join in all aspects of the game.”
The itinerary of Events is as follows:
– November 16 – Schools Football Festival, Soufriere Mini
– November 18 – Workshop for National U-15 Girls,
– November 19 – Football Day League
– November 20 – Women’s Banner Display – To Showcase
Respective National Teams