A total of 50 pioneer members from Regents and Pinelands football clubs will be honoured this coming weekend for their invaluable contribution to the sport both locally and regionally.
Coordinator and former parliamentarian Hamilton Lashley said there will be three days of festivities planned at the Parkinson Resource Centre. Commencing Friday, December 23, the induction into the first-ever Regents and Pinelands Soccer Hall of Fame, of those 50 football veterans, will take place at 6 p.m.
Speaking on the wonderful initiative, Lashley said, “It gives the young men in the community a chance to recognize who their heroes are, whom would have scarified beyond the call of duty in those early days to put Pinelands, the football of Pinelands, and sports in Pinelands on the map in Barbados and the region.
“Those persons that would be inducted are persons who were there for the first two years [1975 to 1977]. We will continue to do different years until the lists of inductees is completed. It is not a give away thing you have to achieve it, you have to work for it to be in this prestigious Hall Of Fame.”
Regents football club has been in existence for 41 years and its tradition of having a reunion on Christmas Eve, when the club was officially founded, is an effort to bring its former members together for a day of football festivities in an atmosphere of celebration.
Lashley spoke highly of Regents club, which he explained has won every major football title in Barbados at the youth level including, the Banks Micro Mini League, the WIBISCO Tournament, and the Barbados Football Cup, to name a few.
On Christmas Day there will be a youth tournament and the masters will showcase their skills on Boxing Day. Teams from Paradise, Wales, Wadadah, Police, New Orleans, Notre Dame, Trents and Benfica are expected to participate in this year’s festivities.
In addition to these activities, the organizing committee will host a sports conference scheduled for December 29 and a 5K fun walk on the 31st.
Lashley, a social activist and former representative for St Michael South East, pointed to the fact that sports is an industry and said that it is time Barbados stops waiting for our sports men and women to achieve to honour or mention them.
He said if Government would put forward an investment of four to five million dollars into the local sporting industry it would augur well for the development of sport.
“In Barbados we should be moving to the stage now of making sports a serious profession, in all disciplines of sports. If we take sports seriously it could solve some of the unemployment among our young people. People might say that its impossible but we, in Barbados, have to move from doing the orthodox to the unorthodox and start being non traditional.
“We are still playing catch up. We have moved to a point in sports where ninety-five per cent of the young people in Barbados, young men in particular and now the girls are involved in soccer. Why not professionalize it similarly to how we do in the David Thompson [football tournament] where every person that plays in the David Thompson is given a fee,” Lashley said.
Former executive member of Regents and community practitioner Brommel Griffith explained that this year they have taken steps to incorporate the sport of road tennis, which is now a major attraction within the various communities across the island.
“We incorporated the road tennis because not everyone plays football, a lot of kids are interested in road tennis, so we added it to get the whole community involved.”