By month-end three of Barbados’ rising football talents will be given a chance, thanks to Digicel, to put their skills on display and possibly earn stints with English football powerhouse, Chelsea.
Sebastian Hunte, Ramar Millar and Shakille Belle will be attending the Digicel Kick Start Football Clinic between October 29 and November 3 at Kensington Oval where they will receive expert instruction from coaches coming into the island from the Chelsea Foundation.
In July of this year it was announced that Digicel and Chelsea would be involved in a lucrative three-year partnership which would see the latter being responsible for providing the coaching expertise for the clinic.
The three footballers, all of whom are members of the Barbados Under-17 team, will be joined by youngsters from Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad, Grenada, St. Lucia, Suriname, Panama and St. Kitts & Nevis and will be competing for the chance of a lifetime, as seven players will be selected by the Chelsea coaches to travel to Stanford Bridge to receive further training and a possible stint with the club’s junior squad.
Excited by the prospect of going to Chelsea, 15-year-old Sebastian Hunte, a student of Harrison College and a central mid-fielder with the Kickstart Football Club, said this was a great opportunity to further his growth as a footballer.
“The experience of playing against other good regional players while being trained by coaches of this level is one that cannot be beat. Add to that the chance to go overseas and play with the Chelsea club and this is certainly a dream of any junior footballer.”
Sixteen-year-old Ramar Millar of the St. Leonard’s Boys School and an outstanding defender for the Empire Club, said the clinic would help him and his two national team-mates in their preparation as they continue to represent Barbados.
“The training and knowledge we gain from this clinic would be helpful in getting us ready for the next stage of our Under-17 World Cup bid, which we (Barbados) are still in the hunt for after qualifying for the CONCACAF finals by winning our zone in St. Kitts earlier this year.”
Not to be left out, Shakille Belle, a 16-year-old mid-fielder from the Lester Vaughan Secondary School, who also plays for the Ellerton Football Club, said the clinic and the possibility of going to Chelsea were just what he was looking for.
“It is my desire to play professional football for one of the world’s top football clubs and to do this I need to be dedicated, focused and exposed to the highest level of training possible. I would therefore like to thank Digicel for giving me this opportunity, which I will certainly look to take advantage of.”
Commercial director of Digicel (Barbados) Limited, Alex Tasker, said the hosting of the clinic was part of the company’s commitment to the development of football in the region as well as its focus on building the youth: ”Time and time again we have shown our commitment to assisting with the growth of football programmes across the region, particularly at the junior level where we believe great focus must be placed on honing and developing skills, in addition to providing positive environments for their growth as individuals. We look forward to a successful clinic and wish our local boys the best of luck as it relates to making the final cut to go to Chelsea,” he said. (PR)