A cross-section of the packed stands at the Wildey Turf during the final game of the BFA's inaugural Capelli SuperCup.
Despite not having any major sponsors on board for some time, the Barbados Football Association’s (BFA) inaugural Capelli SuperCup was a complete success.
That is according to president of the BFA Randy Harris, who was speaking following the staging of the 13-week tournament which saw 25 clubs across Barbados compete for the grand prize of $50 000.
On Sunday night the tournament, which ended with a whopping 270 goals scored, climaxed with the final showdown between Weymouth Wales and Ellerton FC. Wales pulled off a last-minute 1-0 victory, compliments Captain Hadan Holligan, to claim the handsome payday.
The St George based Ellerton, who placed second, netted the crux of the awards, with Captain Shakille Belle driving away in a spanking new Hyundai Ioniq and fan Vidar White capturing the award of a Hyundai Grand i10.
Harris, speaking at the end of the successful staging, said they could not have done it without the help of all involved, especially the sponsors that included Capelli Sports, Courtesy Garage, Coca-Cola, Dasani Water, Courts Ready Cash, Co-Operators General Insurance, Starcom and Nation News.
“I have to say thank you to FIFA and all the sponsors. Why that is important to me is because up to the Capelli SuperCup we were still having a problem attracting substantive sponsors. They made everything possible and we were able to execute. The staff at the BFA and the volunteers really stepped up to the plate,” he said.
A crowd of over 2,500 fans descended on the Wildey Turf, which included the Minister of Sports John King, Minister of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce and Member of Parliament for St George South Dwight Sutherland, along with Minister in the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Investment and Member of Parliament for St Michael South Central Marsha Caddle among the sponsors and other officials.
“There were people at both ends and on the mound. We were happy for the support because we never had it before. This is a couple of years we’ve been up here and it was a good time to show the rest of Barbados the infrastructure and what FIFA and the BFA have been doing over the past three years or so. I am quite happy,” he said proudly.
That was the biggest crowd at the venue since it’s reopening on April 1, 2018, following the $2.3 million refurbishment works which saw the installation of lights around the compound and the erection of three sets of bleachers on the Eastern side of the facility.
And while the event was a success, Harris noted one of the major things to think through was the overall staging of the event.
“There are some things we have to take into consideration going forward. Top of the list is if we would start at Wildey from the first round, or if we would take the first round into the communities around the island and then come to the Turf in the Round of 16. Other than that we are really grateful for the fantastic support we got later in the tournament,” he noted.
However, one of the things he said he was not pleased about was the apparent lack of support on the part of the players.
“I do not think the players understood what we were trying to achieve. I wasn’t really happy with the lack of support for the tournament by some footballers. We expected them to really sell the tournament and be present at the games. We allowed them to come in with their Capelli passes, so we expected more from them in terms of selling. We know they use social media a lot and we think that they could have chipped in and try to get their peers and friends to attend more of the games,” he said.
Nevertheless Harris, who is also Vice President of Concacaf and President of the Caribbean Football Union said the BFA was forging ahead with preparations for the start of next year’s domestic football season, which is set to kick off in six weeks.
“Normally in situations where more than a usual amount of people attend a big football event, there is generally a spin-off as people tend to remember the great time they had and the camaraderie that was shown at the game and they come back to support. We’re hoping we get a spin-off with the Premier League and we’re optimistic going forward. Our young footballers are really being coached at a little higher level and we look forward to the return of quality football in Barbados,” he said.