Webb: Cayman must be ready to meet opportunities
(CNS): The historic election of local football boss Jeff Webb as president of CONCACAF presents not just a great opportunity for him and local football but for the entire Cayman Islands. Webb will be opening a confederation office here shortly and this summer he will be hosting an executive committee retreat in order for the football administrators to develop a strategy for regional football. Webb said this was just the first of what would be many meetings or football related events and even major tournaments that could be hosted in Cayman. But he said it would require investment in infrastructure to meet the demands of hosting large scale games and major conferences on the island.
Given the size of the association that Webb now heads up, holding a conference or tournament here could fill every room in Cayman, which means that there will need to be some expansion and development of local resources if the country is to take advantage of the access it will now have. Webb said he believed the Cayman Islands could be the perfect venue for a beach football tournament as well as offering an ideal location for football training camps for regional teams.
“The opportunities will come for Cayman because of the access we now have but we have got to be ready to meet those opportunities with the necessary level of resources and infrastructure,” he said at a press briefing Monday, hosted by Sports Minister Mark Scotland. Webb explained that his appointment created access and placed Cayman in a unique position, from a footballing stand point, that could be huge for Cayman’s future economy.
The new CONCACAF president was elected to the region’s highest footballing post at a meeting in Budapest, when the scale of the financial and other challenges also emerged following the revelations of an audit into the association.
Webb said there was a lot of hard work ahead but he intended to switch the focus back to the players as they were the heart of the game. His goal, he said, was to create grassroots and elite player programmes to nurture regional footballing talent. He said there were significant resources among the more than forty member countries that could help improve the game. With giant members such as Mexico, the United States and Canada, he said CONCACAF had access to resources that had not been properly exploited.
Congratulating him on his election, Scotland described the appointment as mind boggling. With Canover Watson appointed to the executive and Bruce Blake also taking up a senior post in the Caribbean Football Union, the minister said it illustrated the high regard held for Cayman’s administrators.
Scotland said Webb’s election was no accident because he was arguably the best football administrator in the Caribbean and was dedicated to raising standards in the game. He said it was no small achievement for Webb to be elected to such a high position given the size of the Cayman Islands, but no surprise as he had taken the initiative and the lead to deal with the body’s challenges in the immediate wake of CONCACAF’s corruption allegations as head of the normalization committee. In Hungary, Scotland said, he witnessed the respect and admiration Webb has among his peers from over 200 nations.
Scotland said that football was already growing in the Cayman Islands but now the benefits to the local game would be tremendous.
Bruce Blake, general secretary of the Cayman Islands Football Association, echoed Webb’s sentiments about the need to develop local infrastructure to meet the opportunities that Cayman now had the chance to grasp as a result of Webb’s election.
“We need to be ready to take advantage of this,” he said. “We are now at the forefront of football and we will be hosting courses, conferences and receiving teams. We will need to take services to next level and make sure we are the best as that’s what visitors will expect when they come to events here.”
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