To whom much is given, much is expected.
That is the tacit message of Randy Harris, one of the organising forces behind the lucrative LIME Pelican Football Challenge which returns to the National Stadium this Sunday.
Harris told Barbados TODAY he expected this third year of a competition that has captured the imagination of footballers and fans alike, to be as exciting and competitive as previous years. Indeed, he noted that the 2013 edition had the potential to be the best as yet.
However, he noted that though many of the 12 teams involved had showed the required level of professionalism during previous seasons, he was still not fully satisfied that “all the teams” were playing with the professional mentality that would not only see the tournament go from strength to strength, but could also lead to further opportunities in the players’ footballing future.
“We want all the teams to play with that sense of professionalism and we are confident that they will give of their best during the season. We expect it to be a good tournament and for it to be well patronised as it has been since the first year,” Harris stated.
Harris, who is also the Barbados Football Association president, said that for the last two years football officials had visited the island and watched the tournament. He noted, though, that some of the most outstanding players had been the older players and scouts were mainly looking for younger talent. He said this should be adequate incentive for the young players in the competition to give of their very best as they could put themselves in the spotlight for a breakthrough in the overseas markets.
Harris said though there had been indications that some of the teams could be bringing in players from other Caribbean islands for the semi-professional tournament, mostly Barbadians would form the nucleus of all the teams.
The top football administrator said he was pleased with this year’s draft of players as it had led to a situation where the teams were evenly balanced in terms of the quality of footballers recruited.
keenness of the games played and the excitement generated for the fans,” he said.
Harris noted that organisers were pleased to be returning to the National Stadium following its closure last year for remedial work to the track and other areas of the facility. He said it represented reduced costs for organizers from what had to be paid to use Kensington Oval. He praised the efforts of the National Sports Council for getting the field match-ready for Sunday’s kick-off.
He also stated that there would be incentives for both players and spectators but added he would not immediately divulge these details since the incentives were sponsored and the sponsors would have to be part of any announcements.
Harris said the majority of the games would once again be played on Sundays with some being played on Thursdays. He said that mindful of the economic climate entrance fees had been retained at a very reasonable rate and in some instances had even been reduced.
Prize-money for the winning team is once again $100 000.
Akademiks were the winners of the 2012 edition of the tournament. (WG)