By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
The BVI Football Association was among 41 CONCACAF members celebrating Women’s Football Day on the new pitch in Greenland, marking the first women’s event to be staged there. About 25 women from Tortola and Virgin Gorda, ranging from about 9-40+ participated in the event.
BVIFA president Andy Bickerton said that while they join their regional counterparts in the event, in their case as well as French St. Martin and Dutch St. Maarten, Anguilla and Dominica, it has been a challenge putting the event together because of the devastation in the respective countries, because of the challenges faced in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
“The idea of today is to try and introduce more women and young ladies into the sport of Football, because there’s a lot of opportunities for ladies,” Bickerton stated. “From FIFA’s point of view, it’s a priority to promote ladies Football and from the BVIFA point of view, we have always supported Women’ s Football and we’d like to see the leagues expand and grow. There are opportunities not only in playing, but in refereeing and coaching.”
According to Bickerton, a lot of resources are now being put into these areas in the Caribbean region.
On the men’s side of the sport, he said a tournament involving all of the teams in CONCACAF will begin shortly leading to the 2018 World Cup. From 2018, the stated, the men’s team will be playing 10 games a year minimum.
“In my opinion, it won’t be long before they move that initiative over to Ladies Football,” he said. “Although we have problems with the field right now, we’re going to be sorting that out with FIFA over the next six months and we’re going to have a decent field to play on and we’ll be able to play other countries in the region.”
With several new faces among the women, he said that over the next five years, they can look forward to seeing a women’s league established.
“This means a lot of opportunities with a minimum of four games at home and four games away,” Bickerton said.
Virgin Gorda’s Jakeisha Rigobert, who served as Captain of the U17 Women’s team, encouraged he fellow players to continue in the sport despite the recent challenges they have faced from the two hurricanes.
“We remained here and continue to rep our Soccer program and I hope everyone just take the opportunity to do what they have to do and show their skills,” she told her fellow players before breaking up and starting a series of drills. “Even though sometimes you feel like you can’t perform the skill—I feel that sometimes—but don’t give up keep on going. Even though you see someone doing something you can’t do, don’t worry about that. Just try, be determined and one day you might be on the national team, that will be something good.”