The football teams of the University of the West Indies (UWI) have a new avenue through which to improve their talent.
In addition, following the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) today between the university and the Argentine Football Association, the coaches and players of the football teams from the learning institution’s three campuses, will have the opportunity to win scholarships and go on exchange programmes.
The MOU, which was in the making for the past two years, will foster the exchange of players, coaches and experts in sports and science applied to football.
There are several other areas of cooperation including training and football management, joint initiatives and tournaments organization, sports medicine and anti-doping policies, seminars in football law and sports marketing.
Speaking at the MOU signing ceremony at the Usain Bolt Sports Complex, Cave Hill Campus this morning, Ambassador of Argentina to Barbados Gustavo Pandiani said his country needed the expertise of the UWI football teams in the area of cricket.
“This is what cooperation is. Cooperation is with both parts, we help you out and you help us out . . . and that is what we are trying to do with sports,” he said.
He disclosed that in a matter of weeks, Barbadian Nicoli Brathwaite, 18, who is currently in the UK undertaking a two-year sports science programme, would be travelling to Argentina to try out in one of the first league clubs.
Pandiani challenged the UWI to “put together the combined campuses team of footballers and I am going to help you out to take them to Argentina”.
Principal of the Cave Hill Campus Eudine Barriteau said that the campus’ team – the Blackbirds – were “eager to join forces with their colleagues from their sister UWI campuses and take their collective talent onto the regional stage”.
She said she was confident that the agreement would yield “fruitful and amazing results” and open up a world of opportunities for the region’s growing football talent.
“We expect it to provide greater opportunities for them to become major players in this multi-billion dollar football industry. Students would stand to benefit from the provisions of this agreement and will gain deeper appreciation for the global impact of sport for forging identities and nation- building,” said Barriteau.
Meanwhile, Vice Chancellor of the UWI, Sir Hilary Beckles, welcomed the agreement, describing it as “magnificent”.
Sir Hilary said now was the “moment of innovation” in the world, and he believed it was time for the UWI to show off its innovation and affinity for knowledge and research.
“Therefore in a society where the university is at the centre of that conversation, the university has a role to play in national retransformation. We have the research, we have the access to technology, we understand the science of teaching and learning, we understand the sustainability of nation-building and the development of passion within nation-building,” he said.
“The university is therefore perfectly located to be the incubator for the transformation,” he added.