President of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Randy Harris is calling on its 31 Member Associations (MAs) to be of their best and give of their best in an effort to boost the game of football.
He was speaking during the delivery of his remarks to mark the opening of the CFU Extraordinary Congress in Miami this morning.
“As long as our vision and our actions are about football, and the development of all of our constituents, we’re going to continue to be regarded as an important organization and a pillar of our Caribbean community,” he told the gathering.
Moreover, Harris, who is also vice president of Concacaf (Caribbean) said they needed to band together for the development of the sport.
“When politicians speak about regional unity, integration and singleness of purpose, we can stand as exemplars as this is our reality and we should never lose sight of that. We in the CFU understand our policy pitches and the places from which we operate as sacred, and this should spur us all on to do our best and be our best so that the region can be among the best and our constituents in all spheres through our efforts can rise to efforts of global quality,” he said, being careful to point out that “the Caribbean Football Union is not the executive committee, it is not the secretariat; it is all of us; all 31 members working in tandem to achieve our shared vision and goals”.
Additionally, Harris, who also heads the Barbados Football Association, congratulated Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Puerto Rico, St Kitts and Nevis and Cuba for winning their group stage encounters in the recently concluded CFU Girls’ Under-14 Challenge Series held in Trinidad and Tobago.
“Young referees and referee assistants, most of them refereeing at this level for the first time, gained invaluable experience and training. The impact of the tournament is immeasurable and should never be underestimated.
“Continuity and consistency means that we will reap the benefits of CFU development programmes in the short, medium and long term. I urge us all to continue to avail ourselves of the opportunities these competitions provide by participating and approaching them with the same enthusiasm with which we embrace other contests,” he said.
He also noted that the Caribbean had great examples of what could happen when they dreamed big and did the necessary work to realize those dreams.
“We are at the moment going toe-to-toe with some of the world’s best at the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Brazil. I offer congratulations to them and assure the Haitian delegation here today that we are one Caribbean rallying around them. I am sure my colleague president Yves Jean-Bart will attest to the fact that his is a programme built from the ground up with a logical progression,” he said.
In keeping within the scope of hard work, Harris announced that the CFU were able to inaugurate the Football and Technical Committee at the end of September, which he described as “a watershed moment in the life of the CFU”.
“Commitment, experience and expertise of the committee cannot be understated. They have put in work that would lead to measures and considered a scientific approach to our football and our development and this is going to take us to a clear path in the right direction with the help of Concacaf and FIFA,” he said.
Harris also urged all the MAs in attendance to make use of the developmental programmes offered to senior executives within the upcoming year.
“In early October, 27 senior football executives from the 17 CFU Member Associations graduated from the first edition of the Football Executive Programme for the Caribbean at the UWI St Augustine Campus in Trinidad and Tobago. We generally refer to this programme as the CIES. It is an initiative of FIFA and the International Center of Sports Studies of the University at St Augustine.
“Courses like these create opportunities and help build a common vision among the Caribbean football community, and I extend congratulations to all of the graduates and to the MAs for making that kind of investment and looking forward to seeing and hearing about the practical application of the course work,” he said as he signaled the opening of the Extraordinary Congress.