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‘It’s good to start at a young age’

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ACTION IN the Junior Cup Under-9 football competition kicked off yesterday at the Constant Spring Football Field in Kingston, and it was the exploits of the young lads from Emmanuel Christian Academy that stole the show on day one.

Emmanuel went undefeated, winning three games in impressive fashion.

Though Emmanuel were the toast of the day, Reach Academy had the biggest win of the first round, spanking Castleton Primary 9-0.

The Gregory Jones-coached Emmanuel, though, did not concede a goal on the day, while banging in nine of their own.

They began with a 2-0 victory over Reach Academy, followed by a 1-0 win over Sts Peter and Paul Preparatory, completing their opening salvo with the 6-0 schellacking of Castleton.

Despite what appeared to be lawless performances, Jones wasn’t entirely pleased with what he saw from his talented bunch.

MORE TRAINING

“I was happy, but we didn’t play like how we did in training. We scored nine goals in three games without conceding any, but we didn’t play like how we trained and that, for me, was disappointing. I think this is what we need (age-group football). The boys at this age group should be playing a lot of this on a monthly basis, and the truth is that we want more. And again, what I saw today means my boys need more time on the training ground,” said Jones.

Also in attendance was Men’s 100 and 200-metre world record holder Usain Bolt, who was cheering on the Hillel Academy group.

Hillel had mixed results, beating Windward Road Primary 4-1 before losing 4-1 to St Aloysius Primary.

But, for Bolt, the results matter very little.

“My best friend and manager’s (Nugent Walker) son plays for Hillel, so I came out to support them. For me, at this stage, it’s just fun. I saw a few talented players out there, but, for me, it’s just fun seeing them enjoying themselves and developing. At a young age you can see the talent and see who will be future footballers. So it’s good to start at a young age so they can have fun and socialise also,” said Bolt.

Paula Pinnock, managing director of the FYI (Free Your Image) Consultancy Group, organisers of the event, was happy with what she saw from the first day of the competition.

“Competition wise, you can’t complain. The kids came out, they played and we were thoroughly entertained. I loved the energy and passion and that’s what we love to see from this competition. In order for us to get to another men’s World Cup, we need to start embedding in our youth that football is a competitive sport and they can start as early as they want,” said Pinnock.

The competition, boasting sponsors like Funland Jamaica, FYI, Wisynco, The Gleaner Company (Media) Ltd, Sports Development Foundation, ICWI, and Jamaica National, will continue on March 18.

orane.buchanan@gleanerjm.com

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