The Caribbean Football Trust Limited (CTFL) made history in Caribbean football with the official launch press conference of the Islands Cup Open tournament and the unveiling of Russell Latapy as the head coach of the Barbados Challengers franchise. The announcement was made during the first players combine held at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, Barbados. Regional players will be given the opportunity to compete with international marquee players in this inaugural promotional season scheduled to be played from July 6-16, 2017 in Dominica, Suriname, St. Lucia and St. Vincent.
The Islands Cup Open 2017 currently has the commitment from five (5) teams including Barbados Challengers, Combined Islands FC, Suriname Gladiators, Trinbago Oilers FC and Jamaica Ruff Necks. This tournament attempts to captivate the region and expose football fans to a dynamic brand of football while developing our younger players. The Islands Cup Open will deliver a sport product that will showcase the Caribbean as the festival hub of the world. With non-stop football action coupled with the rhythmic sounds of the Caribbean, CFTL will create an experience that rattles around the world.
“This is a proud moment for all of us in the region as the Islands Cup Open provides an opportunity for our young players to ply their trade in the comfort of the Pan-Caribbean atmosphere and our players can develop while participating in the sport they love. They also can feel comfortable in knowing that they don’t have to ply their trade all over the world and can be close to loved ones,” said Chris Anderson, Chairman and CFO of the CTFL.
The Islands Cup Open is endorsed by several Regional Associations, Heads of State and Ministers of Tourism with the vision of stimulating tourism for the region with a focus on Sports and Entertainment Tourism.
“Sports tourism is growing worldwide by leaps and bounds, and a number of our tourist arrivals are in fact due to the high calibre of sporting activities and events we have here. As the Islands Cup evolves, this may present an even greater opportunity for us here in Barbados to be further involved as one of the host destinations,” said Alvin Jemmott, Chairman of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.
Another major aim of the Islands Cup Open is to expedite the development of young regional players and showcase their talent on the international stage. The expectation is to improve the performance of the players participating in clubs or National Teams and in turn facilitate the progress of the regions National teams in international competition.
“Football is a sport that brings people together, and especially in the Caribbean more now than ever there is a dire need for more role models and support for young people. Therefore, sport and football is definitely one of the mediums that can accomplish this. In saying this, I am humbled and excited to contribute to the development of football in the region and continue to be a strong advocate for the development of young people and taking Caribbean football to the next level,” expressed Russell Latapy, newly appointed Head Coach of the Barbados Challengers franchise.