Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay brings unity through community in the BVI – Full Report

On May 3 and 4, the BVI Olympic Committee (BVIOC) in its capacity as the Commonwealth Games Association (BVICGA) hosted the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay in the Virgin Islands (UK). The Queen’s Baton toured communities on Tortola and Virgin Gorda heralding the upcoming Commonwealth Games which will be held in Birmingham, UK from July 28 to August 8, 2022.

The Queen’s Baton arrived from Dominica into the Terrence B. Lettsome International Airport on Monday, May 2 and was presented by Ms. Korlita Hamilton of the Dominica CGA to Mr. Ephraim Penn, President of the BVICGA.

The Welcome and Opening Ceremony on Tuesday, May 3 at the A. O. Shirley Recreation Games officially marked the start of Queen’s Baton Relay in the BVI with remarks by His Excellency Governor John Rankin, the Honourable Premier Dr. Natalio Wheatley and Mr. Penn, and an explanation of the workings of the Queen’s Baton by Mr. Joe Chapman, Baton Manager and 4x Commonwealth Games squash player.

The ceremony started with the Althea Scatliffe Striders Drum Corps and the entrance of the Queen’s Baton brought in by past Commonwealth Games athletes to include Lindel “Chef” Hodge, Steve Augustine, Ralston “Grandfather” Henry, Tynelle Gumbs, Trevia Gumbs and Joe Chapman. It was followed by a programme of recitals and performances of cultural and heritage significance curated by Dr. Katherine Smith, Director of the Department of Culture and presented by Poet Laureate Dr. Richard Georges, President of the HLSCC; author and poet Miss. Anika Christopher, Birmingham 2022 QBR Creative Programme Awardee; Mr. Phil Aspinall, MBE, Operations Manager, Virgin Islands Search & Rescue; the Comfoo Dance Ensemble; Leonora Delville Primary School; and the Razor Blades.

The relay through Road Town was started by the BVI Athletics Association Carifta 2022 athletes and Honourable Kye Rymer, District 5 Representative. The route followed a heritage trail and Baton handover stops starting from the Sugarworks Museum (Batonbearer D’Nila Thomas, student Althea Scatliffe Primary School), to the J. R. O’Neal Botanic Gardens (Batonbearer Ms. Vanessa King, O’Neal Webster), to the Sunday Morning Well (Batonbearer Mr. David Thomas, Clarence Thomas Ltd), to the E. Walwyn Brewley Ball Park (Batonbearers V I Softball Baseball Association), to the Elmore Stoutt High School (Batonbearer Jelani Croal, Grade 12, ESHS) to H.M. Prison Museum (Batonbearer Mr. Matthew Cowman, Walkers (BVI) Limited), to Midtown Restaurant (Batonbearers Caribbean Insurance Ltd), to the Noel Lloyd Positive Action Movement Park (Batonbearers representatives of the BVI Bank Association), to the Waterfront Drive traffic lights (Batonbearers Coralisle Group), to Sir Olva Georges Plaza (Batonbearers Road Town Wholesale Trading Ltd) to the Adina Donovan Home for the Elderly (Batonbearer, Mrs. Vicki Francis, Governor’s Office) to the Old Government House Museum. Information was shared on the history of the location at each of the heritage and museum sites.

The Queen’s Baton was driven to the Ebenezer Thomas Primary School where it was met with vigorous enthusiasm by the students, staff and faculty. The relay to the Manuel Reef Marina was led by Batonbearers Honourable Julian Fraser, District 3 Representative, Mr. Milton McClean, Youth Sports leader, and Jehu Adams, Grade 6, ETPS. Adams handed the Baton over to Royal BVI Yacht Club sailing federation youth sailor, William Sanders and Mr. Jamel Davies, Chairman of the Tortola Sloop Foundation who sailed the Baton to the beach at Nanny Cay where it was handed over to Mr. Miles Sutherland-Pilch, General Manager, Nanny Cay Resort and Marina.

The afternoon visit included a stop at Carrot Bay to recognise the Stoutt family of fishermen – father Albert and sons Zacchari and Andrew – who continue to supply the local community and restaurants with fish and lobster caught in the traditional and sustainable way of seine and line fishing and free diving.

The Queen’s Baton was then welcomed at the Leonora Delville Primary School joined by student and teacher representation from the Jost Van Dyke Primary School and celebrated with dance and a symbolic relay around the school field with Batonbearers Frank Chinnery (JVDPS).

Day 1 of the relay concluded with a visit to the coal pit at Capoon’s Bay where the pit owner, Mr. Palett explained the process for preparing, generating and harvesting charcoal in the traditional way.

An evening reception hosted by the Governor was attended by the Carifta 2022 athletes, Commonwealth Games athletes and representatives of the National Federations.

The second and final day of the Queen’s Baton Relay saw the Queen’s Baton and accompanying delegation transported to Virgin Gorda courtesy of the Royal Virgin Islands Marine Police and H.M. Customs. The visit included a warm welcome reception organised by the Primary and Secondary schools of the Bregado Flax Education Center with remarks by Secondary Principal Hilroy George, Honourable Shereen Flax-Charles, Honourable Vincent Wheatley, District 9 Representative, and Mr. Penn. Presentations were performed by the Woodwind Ensemble, the BEFC Trio and the BFEC Lions and Arabians Cheerleaders.

A visit to the school’s Edible Garden of the Green Sprouts Eco Club managed by Green and Clean VI was followed by a relay led by Batonbearers, brothers Mekhi Water (Grade 12) and Audony Gangoo (Grade 5) from the school to the Green VI Eco Park where all guests were given a tour and overview of the work undertaken at the site by Green VI in association with Green VI Bug Out and which speak to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

The penultimate leg of the Queen’s Baton Relay took a route through East End and Long Look with heritage sites and handover stops starting at the Chapel Hill Methodist Church with a brief history shared by Dr. Lavon Chalwell-Brewely before Batonbearer Dean Greenaway led the relay to Penn’s Landing handing over to Honourable Marlon Penn, District 8 Representative.

From there the Queen’s Baton was run to the Willard Wheatley Primary School (Batonbearer Jacobi David) to the East End Police Station (Batonbearer Mrs. Sylvia Forbes) to the Francis Lettsome Primary School (Batonbearer Damir Dobson) to the Long Look Methodist Church and the Stickett where Batonbearer Mrs. Brenda Lettsome-Tye, Director Department of Youth Affairs and Sports led the relay to the Long Look Tennis and Education Center to hand over to the youth and senior Cycling Federation members who cycled the Queen’s Baton to the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College via YEP.

At the HLSCC, the Baton was handed over to Ms. Winnette Lawrence of the V I Archery Association who passed it on to Dr. Richard Georges, President of the HLSCC who handed over to the HLSCC Volleyball team. The Baton was then jogged across to the Maritime Museum by students of the Marine Studies before a handover to Phillipe Leroy, representing the BVI Triathlon Federation, who, followed by others, cycled the Queen’s Baton on the final leg of the relay which culminated at Brandywine Bay beach.

The Queen’s Baton Relay in the BVI was brought to a close when members of the BVI Rugby Federation received the Baton followed by handovers to the BVI Football Association and the VI Volleyball Association. Each of the three National Federations showcased their sports in demo games on the beach with a traditional-rules, tug-of-war refereed by Mr. Elmore Stoutt ending the sports before closing remarks by Mr. Penn, President of the BVICGA. The grand finale was a cultural presentation speaking to national heritage and the VI’s history and maritime connections. Attendees were entertained and educated by songs, dances and story-telling performed by the Zion Sounds, Ms. Bria Smith, the Comfoo Dance Ensemble, the Heritage Dancers, Mrs. Lettsome and Miss Rosie Smith.

The key stakeholders involved in the planning and hosting of events included the Governor’s Office, the Premier’s Office, the Ministry of Education, Culture Youth Affairs, Agriculture and Fisheries, the Departments of Culture, Education, and Youth Affairs and Sports, the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force and the BVI Tourist Board.

Event sponsors include the BVI Banking Association – Banco Popular, Bank of Asia, CIBC FirstCaribbean, FirstBank, National Bank of the Virgin Islands, Republic Bank, and VP Bank – Caribbean Insurance Ltd, Clarence Thomas Ltd, Coralisle Insurance (BVI) Ltd, O’Neal Webster, Road Town Wholesale Trading Ltd, Walkers, Harneys and JOMA Properties.

National Federations, schools, and community and social groups supported the event as volunteers and participants in the relays through the districts.

The BVICGA has hosted four Queen’s Baton Relays since 2005, the last one being in 2017 ahead of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia where Kyron McMaster made history by winning the territory’s first Commonwealth Games medal with a gold in the 400m hurdles.

The VI is expecting to take its largest contingent yet to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games with 19 athletes representing the territory in 5 sports – a first for the nation. 3×3 Basketball (Women’s Team) and Cycling will make their debut at a Commonwealth Games as the teams join athletes from track and field, squash and swimming.

The 16th official Queen’s Baton Relay touring through 72 Commonwealth nations and Overseas Territories will cover a distance of 140,000 kilometres over 269 days, traveling to Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania, the Caribbean and the Americas, before embarking on the final stretch of its journey across England for 25 days.

The Queen’s Baton Relay will complete its journey at the Opening Ceremony of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games on 28 July 2022. This is a traditional and fundamental part of the Games and the Opening Ceremony, as the final Batonbearer will pass the Baton back to The Queen. The Queen’s message to the Commonwealth will then be removed from the Baton and read aloud, marking the official start of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Photos of the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay touring the BVI can be seen on the BVIOC’s Facebook page.

Student Batonbearers:

Althea Scatliffe School (ASPS), Road Town, Tortola
D’Niya Thomas (Handover at the Sugarworks Museum, Day 1)
D’Niya has represented for several years for Inter-Primary Spors. She has been the Victrix for Inter-House and Inter-Primary as well.

Elmore Stoutt High School, Road Town, Tortola (Day 1)
Jelani Croal
– Grade 12
Jelani was chosen because he is one of ESHS’ top athletes during the Inter-House competition and who went on to do very well at Carifta 2022

Ebenezer Thomas Primary School, Sea Cow’s Bay, Tortola (Day 1)
Jehu Adams
– Grade 6
Jehu is a hard-working, dedicated, disciplined and helpful young man who is the top Grade Six student for the Advent and Trinity terms of the 2021-2022 school year. Along with his classmates, he is actively involved in the process of planting and maintaining the crops in the school’s garden. He is also very much involved in anything that would enhance the lives of his classmate. Jehu is often involved in peer tutoring within the classroom. He has specifically been assigned to assist and mentor one of the ESL students. He assists him with in-class tasks, projects and homework whenever necessary.
Additionally, during the Lent term, Grade Six had started a recycling project. Jehu was actively involved in collecting, sorting and recording the data for the materials. He along with another student took the materials to the school’s recycling bins.
Jehu has proudly and effectively represented his school at various competitions and other extracurricular activities. Presently, he and another student are preparing to represent the school at the national spelling bee competition. Jehu’s self-less attitude and commitment to learning are admirable and examples to his peers.

Leonora Delville Primary School, Capoon’s Bay, Tortola (Day 1)
Mijael Jennings
(LDPS)
Kh’mahni Anthony (LDPS)
Frank Chinnery (Jost Van Dyke Primary School) – selected because he is an excellent athlete and the perfect representative for an event such as the Queen’s Baton Relay.

Bregado Flax Education Center, Virgin Gorda (Day 2)
BFEC Senior Division
Mekhi Water – Senior – Class of 2022
Mekhi is an all-round athlete excelling in Volleyball (BFEC) who also is the Football national U20 goalkeeper and of the VG United football club. He also is a Track and Field division winner. He is a diligent and committed student of the BFEC Senior School.

BFEC Primary Division
Audony Gangoo – Grade 5
Audony is one who we call a true Lion Ambassador. He puts his best foot forward in whatever he does. He is from a single parent home with 4 other siblings. This does not deter him from excelling in school, in sports and being one of our school ambassadors. Audony recently participated in the Inter-Primary Sports and ran in the 13+ category. Despite being pushed up to the older level, he persevered and came 2nd and 3rd in his races. He was determined to do his very best.

Currently, he is one of the top students in Grade 5, and he ensures that he continues is a positive influence for his peers.

Willard Wheatley Primary School, East End, Tortola (Day 2)
Jacobi David
– Grade 6
Jacobi has grown into a positive student. He is a good athlete and displays good sportsmanship. He continues to represent the school well in sports and never refuses when he is asked to do something. He is a team player and as this is his final year at WWPS, we feel he deserves the honour of carrying the Baton.

Francis Lettsome Primary School, Greenland, Tortola (Day 2)
Damir Dobson
– Grade 6
Damir is an enthusiastic 13-year-old, who excels in sports as one of his extracurricular endeavours. Damir is son to Earle Dobson and Glasmie Williamson. He represents his school at sporting events, and has been a top athlete, and proud Wildcat of FLPS, in Greenland, Tortola. Damir is the Francis Lettsome Primary School Wildcats’ 2022 Queen’s Relay Baton Bearer, because of his keen spirit, respectfulness, dedication to learning, willingness to help, community service, and pride in representing his school.

Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay brings unity through community

The BVI Olympic Committee (BVIOC) in its capacity as the Commonwealth Games Association (BVICGA) hosted the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay in the Virgin Islands (UK) on Tuesday, May 3 and Wednesday, May 4.

The two-day event brought a perceptible positive energy at a time of political uncertainty in the territory. With a focus on celebrating culture, untold stories, heritage and traditions as well as the road to a sustainable-lifestyle future, the BVICGA worked closely with the Department of Culture and the Department of Education, Green VI and members of the community to deliver an engaging and elevating Queen’s Baton Relay as it toured communities on Tortola and Virgin Gorda.

“The Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay in the BVI delivered a most unexpected and welcome relief from troubled times during the two days that it toured our territory,” said Mr. Ephraim Penn, President pf the BVICGA. “The high energy and enthusiasm with which the Queen’s Baton was received by all who participated in the events were uplifting and encouraging as, once again, we see the power of sports in bringing the community together in shared hope. This did not go unnoticed by the Birmingham 2022 Global QBR organisers in the UK who shared with us that this was one of their favourite Queen’s Baton Relays!”

The Queen’s Baton arrived into the territory from Dominica on May 2 ahead of the official welcome and opening ceremony at the A.O. Shirley Recreation Grounds on May 3 when the Baton made its entrance in the hands of some of the BVI’s past Commonwealth Games athletes to include Lindel “Chef” Hodge, Steve Augustine, Ralston “Grandfather” Henry, Tynelle Gumbs, Trevia Gumbs and Joe Chapman.

Remarks by H.E. Governor John Rankin, Premier Dr. the Hon. Natalio Wheatley and Mr. Ephraim Penn, President of the BVICGA and an explanation of the workings of the Queen’s Baton by Mr. Joe Chapman, Baton Manager and 4x Commonwealth Games squash player, were part of a programme featuring recitals and performances of cultural and heritage significance curated by Dr. Katherine Smith, Director of the Department of Culture and presented by Poet Laureate Dr. Richard Georges, author and poet Miss. Anika Christopher, Mr. Phil Aspinall, MBE, the Comfoo Dance Ensemble, Leonora Delville Primary School, and the Razor Blades.

The relay legs through Road Town included heritage and museum sites such as the Sugarworks Museum, J.R. O’Neal Botanic Gardens, the Sunday Morning Well, H.M. Prison Museum, Noel Lloyd Positive Action Movement Park, Sir Olva Georges Plaza and Old Government House Museum. Information was shared on the history of the location at each of the sites.

The Queen’s Baton was driven to the Ebenezer Thomas Primary School, Sea Cow’s Bay from where it was run to Manuel Reef Marina and sailed aboard a Traditional Tortola Sloop and a Feva of the Royal BVI Yacht Club Sailing Federation youth racing fleet to the beach at Nanny Cay Resort and Marina.

An afternoon stop at Carrot Bay included a visit with the fishing family of Mr. Albert Stoutt and his sons Zacchari and Andrew, who continue to supply the local community and restaurants with fish and lobster caught in the traditional and sustainable way of seine and line fishing and free diving. All present were treated to an impromptu scratch band performance at the North Shore Shell Museum owned by Mr. Egbert “Shellman” Donovan.

The Queen’s Baton was welcomed by students, staff and faculty at the Leonora Delville Primary School and representatives from the Jost Van Dyke Primary School before the Day 1 relay ended with a visit to the coal pit at Capoon’s Bay where pit owner, Mr. Palett explained the process for preparing, generating and harvesting charcoal in the traditional way.

An evening reception hosted by the Governor was attended by the Carifta 2022 athletes, Commonwealth Games athletes and representatives of the National Federations.

On the morning of May 4, the Queen’s Baton and delegation arrived at the Bregado Flax Education Center in Virgin Gorda for a warm reception programme executed by the Primary and Secondary divisions with remarks by Principal Hilroy George, Hon. Shereen Flax-Charles, Representative at Large, and Hon. Vincent Wheatley, District 9 Representative and Mr. Penn.

A visit to the school’s Green Sprouts Edible Garden was followed by a relay to the Green VI Eco Park for a tour and overview of the work undertaken at the site by Green VI in association with Green VI Bug Out and which speak to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

The afternoon leg through East End and Long Look included Baton handover spots at national heritage sites of the Chapel Hill Methodist Church, the Long Look Methodist Church and the Stickett.

The Queen’s Baton Relay in the BVI was brought to a close with a sports showcase and a traditional-rules, tug-of-war refereed by Mr. Elmore Stoutt. The cultural finale entertained and educated through songs, dances and story-telling that spoke to national heritage and the VI’s history and maritime connections performed by the Zion Sounds, Ms. Bria Smith, the Comfoo Dance Ensemble, the Heritage Dancers, Mrs. Valerie Lettsome and Miss Rosie Smith.

The next stop for the Queen’s Baton Relay was St Kitts and Nevis as it makes its way back to the UK for the Opening Ceremony of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games on July 28.

The key stakeholders involved in the planning and hosting of events included the Governor’s Office, the Premier’s Office, the Ministry of Education, Culture Youth Affairs, Agriculture and Fisheries, the Departments of Culture, Education, and Youth Affairs and Sports, the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force and the BVI Tourist Board.

Event sponsors include the BVI Banking Association – Banco Popular, Bank of Asia, CIBC FirstCaribbean, FirstBank, National Bank of the Virgin Islands, Republic Bank, and VP Bank – Caribbean Insurance Ltd, Clarence Thomas Ltd, Coralisle Insurance (BVI) Ltd, O’Neal Webster, Road Town Wholesale Trading Ltd, Walkers, Harneys and JOMA Properties.

National Federations, schools, and community and social groups supported the event as volunteers and participants in the relays through the districts.

The BVICGA has hosted four Queen’s Baton Relays since 2005, the last one being in 2017 ahead of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia where Kyron McMaster made history by winning the territory’s first Commonwealth Games medal with a gold in the 400m hurdles.

The VI is expecting to take its largest contingent yet to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games with 19 athletes representing the territory in 5 sports – a first for the nation. 3×3 Basketball (Women’s Team) and Cycling will make their debut at a Commonwealth Games as the teams join athletes from track and field, squash and swimming.

The 16th official Queen’s Baton Relay touring through 72 Commonwealth nations and Overseas Territories will cover a distance of 140,000 kilometres over 269 days, traveling to Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania, the Caribbean and the Americas, before embarking on the final stretch of its journey across England for 25 days.

The Queen’s Baton Relay will complete its journey at the Opening Ceremony – a traditional and fundamental part of the Games as the final Batonbearer passes the Baton back to The Queen or her representative. The Queen’s message to the Commonwealth will then be removed from the Baton and read aloud, marking the official start of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Read the full report.

Photos of the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay touring the BVI can be seen on the BVIOC’s Facebook page.

Women’s National Football team set to play in Concacaf W Qualifiers against SVG and Haiti

BVI national player Britney Peters at the goal mouth in the CONCACF World Cup qualifier match against Honduras, February 22, 2022
PHOTO: BVIFA

In another historic moment for BVI Women’s Football, the players continue their adventure in the World Cup with games this coming week against St Vincent and the Grenadines and Haiti in the Concacaf W Qualifiers.

Even more momentous is that the game against Haiti will be played on the A.O. Shirley Ground on April 9th with a 4pm kick off making it the first time a Women’s International game will have taken place in the Territory since 2014. That occasion was to mark the 40th Anniversary of the BVI Football Association being affiliated to FIFA, the World Governing body for Football and organizers of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, to be staged in New Zealand and Australia.

While a place on the plane to the “main event” is a dream for the current crop of players, their reality and focus is on an anticipated exciting game to be played at the Arnos Vale Stadium in St Vincent and the Grenadines against the Vincy Heat, on April 6th, with a 3.00pm kick off.

Tickets for the Haiti game are still available from the BVIFA office who also are offering a special deal for fans from Virgin Gorda with a round trip ferry crossing on Speedys included in the match ticket price.

Adults are $10 and children U12 just 5$ (VG Special is $30 adults and $20 U12’s).

The squad for the SVG leg has been confirmed as follows:

Ariel Mohamed, captain (Wolues FC), Zariya Smith vice-captain (Panthers FC), Kara Lewis (Panthers FC), Lil-Makeda Fahie (Avengers FC), Gabrielle Jermyn (Wolues FC), Jasmine Cox (Holland FC), Keeley Brickwood (Holland FC), Alicia King (DeMontford Uni.), Shevonne Vanterpool (Avengers FC), Zina Cheikh (Oakham Utd), Olivia Messum (DeMontford Uni), Chandni Wattley (Panthers FC), Britney Peters (Avengers FC), Darci Reich (Wolues FC), Morgan Creque (Panthers FC), Zolita Bamford (Wolues FC), Laverne Fahie (Avengers FC), Kiara Woodley (Wolues FC), Jackisha Rigobert (VG Utd) and Kimberly Smith (Wolues FC).

Head Coach is Wayne Phillip, Assistant Coach is Jeffrey Demming, Manager is Linda Magliore and Team Physio is Sheldon Harry.

“Training has been going excellent,” commented Phillips. “The girls are full of confidence and looking forward to the challenge. I am sure they will give a good account of themselves, and we are going out there to do well. We cannot afford to be over confidant but definitely want to play them on the front foot. In practice games the defense has looked more organized, and at the other end we have been scoring goals!”

The BVIFA is encouraging the public to show support for the Women’s National Team by attending their game against Haiti at the A.O. Shirley Ground which is expected to be well attended and full of excitement.

Contact the BVIFA by telephone on (284) 494-5655 for tickets.

About the Concafaf W Qualifiers*

The Concacaf W Qualifiers is the preliminary round of the 2022 Concacaf W Championship which will serve as the Confederation’s Qualifier to the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023 and the 2024 Paris Summer Olympic Games.

The 30 Concacaf Member Associations participating, all ranked 3 and below in the FIFA Women’s Ranking as of July 2021, have been divided into six groups of five teams each as follows:

Group A: Mexico, Puerto Rico, Suriname, Antigua and Barbuda and Anguilla
Group B: Costa Rica, Guatemala, Saint Kitts and Nevis, US Virgin Islands, and Curacao
Group C: Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Bermuda, Grenada and Cayman Islands
Group D: Panama, El Salvador, Barbados, Belize and Aruba
Group E: Haiti, Cuba, Honduras, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and British Virgin Islands
Group F: Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana, Nicaragua, Dominica and Turks and Caicos Islands

After group stage play, where each nation will play two matches at home and two matches away, the top finisher in each of the groups – for a total of six teams – will advance to the Concacaf W Championship, joining the top two ranked Concacaf nations (USA and Canada) who have received a bye straight to the W Championship.

Additionally, both Group Stage third place finishers will advance to a FIFA Women’s World Cup intercontinental play-off. At the conclusion of the event, the winning nation will guarantee its place in the 2024 Paris Summer Olympic Games Women’s Football Tournament and the 2024 Concacaf W Gold Cup.

The runner-up and the third place will also progress to a Concacaf Olympic play-in to be played in September of 2023. The winner of the play-in will also guarantee their place in the 2024 Paris Summer Olympic Games and the 2024 W Gold Cup.

*Information source: Concacaf.com

BVIFA Executive attend CONCACAF workshop to advance football development

Members of the BVI Football Association Executive Committee spent the weekend of March 12 – 13 in a series of workshops with mentors from CONCACAF, the regional governing body, with the aim of taking the organization to the next level. Photo: BVIFA

Members of the BVI Football Association Executive Committee spent the weekend of March 12 – 13 in a series of workshops with mentors from CONCACAF, the regional governing body, with the aim of taking the organization to the next level.

The two-day workshop, facilitated by Mr. Howard McIntosh, One CONCACAF and Caribbean Projects Manager and Mr. Horace Reid, Caribbean Director, Member Association Affairs, had a main theme and aim of exposing the newly named BVIFA Executive Council to best practices in good governance to improve the overall administration of the game and to address the key roles and responsibilities of the Council.

The BVIFA also had to present its strategic plan, which was approved by the facilitators, discuss its current organizational structure, roles and responsibilities within the organisation, and identify key positions that need to be filled.

“The sessions were very productive,” commented 1st Vice-President, Mr. Avenel “Clarky” Morton. “The gist was that they were happy with where we have reached so far and have empowered us to reach new heights as a Council. This means as the elected officials, we have a responsibility to not be so involved day to day, but make sure the people we put in place are accountable and doing their jobs.”

The Executive Council is similar to a Board of Directors in a company and, according to Morton, it takes football well and truly into the realms of operating just like a successful business.

BVIFA Treasurer Mr. Kenrick Grant echoed the thoughts of his VP: “It was very timely in preparing us to be a body with the right attitude, understanding and knowledge needed for establishing a successful business where we can create leaders. We have already been making necessary changes to transform the organization from the game of football to the business of football and its important that these changes resonate throughout the organisation,” said Grant.

Grant also pointed out that, with the support of FIFA and CONCACAF, the BVIFA has already been making strides to be fully professionalised with a clear separation of the legislative, executive, judiciary and operational functions.

Clubs and National teams have also benefited from the new era and, following implementation of the conclusions from the workshops, those benefits will only continue to take football forward.

Some of the more immediate steps to be taken include the creation of a crisis management committee; development of a communication strategy for all clubs, members, stakeholders and supporters; a review of the player registration process; and a separation of powers by the Council members so they no longer are involved in the various standing committees and the creation of standard operating policy and procedure manuals for the various functions of the BVIFA.

BVIFA President Mr. Andy Bickerton was delighted to report, “the workshop was another steppingstone in the development of football in the islands as we look to match the professionalism of our players and coaches with that of our administration.”

BVIFA sends members of Men’s National Team to UK training camp

The BVI Football Association is taking full advantage of the latest FIFA International Football window by holding a training camp at Bisham Abbey, England under the watchful eyes of Head Coach, Chris Kiwomya.

Despite COVID-19 continuing to cause travel and availability issues for the BVI, a strong squad has been assembled at the iconic base in Bisham Abbey, in the heart of Buckinghamshire, UK for the likes of international teams and top flight clubs ahead of games and Cup Finals at Wembley as well as many other elite sports teams.

“The camp is another step in the development of the Men’s National Team as we work towards the Concacaf Nations League which commences in June,” noted BVIFA President, Mr. Andy Bickerton. “It provides another opportunity for our young players to learn from our National Coach, Chris Kiwomya, and understanding the patterns of play he is introducing plus his personal expectations of them.”

Apart from the week long training camp, a highlight will be a friendly game against Anguilla on Thursday 27th January at Bisham Abbey. Both nations have numerous players playing football across Europe at semi pro and full professional levels.

Players attending the training camp include:

Goalkeepers –   Philip Jules and Will Butler
Defenders –   Christian Xavier, Jerry Wiltshire, Vidal Hendrikson, Miguel Marshall, Ikyjah Williams
Malakai Stanners
Midfielders –   Carlos Septus, Luka Chalwell, Jaimie Wilson, T’Sharne Gallimore
Forwards –   Josh Bertie, Tyler Forbes, Jake Forbes, Kevin Fisher

Several of the upcoming players in the BVI were selected but unavailable this time around including Sheldon Toney, Kalani, Denvin Jones, Justin Smith, Luca Reich, Liam Blok, Alejandro Santos, Leo Forte and Gethin Jones.

The future looks bright for youth football

Keallun Louise – scorer for One Caribbean in their 3-0 win over VG Utd in U13 National League match

The focus last weekend for the BVI Football Association was very much on the future, as not only was a Mini Youth League launched, but also the U13 National League resumed with two exciting matches.

First up on Saturday, over one hundred youngsters gathered on the field at East End / Long Look for the start of the Mini Youth Leagues with youngsters from Virgin Gorda and other sister islands set to join in from next week. The warm up event indicates a future that is definitely bright for football and for the upcoming BDO School Leagues.

In the U13 National League, One Caribbean FC had a 3-0 victory against VG Utd, courtesy of a double strike from Keallun Louise and an own goal.

The Sugar Boys FC then lost their 100% record, losing 1-7 to Panthers FC, who, with the win, closed the gap on the Sugar Boys at the top of the standings to just one point.

Kamauri Fenton and Myles Penn both scored twice, whilst Tiondre Martin, Christian Orlando and Mario Carter also found the back of the net.

Liam Min scored the consolation goal for the Sugar Boys.

“To be honest, I’m really proud of the boys and want to keep this Panthers team together as they are definitely the future of BVI football,” said Coach Wayne Phillip.

Phillip went on to explain how the game had kept the crowd on the edge of their seats as players from both teams showed their talents. “It was a brilliant game! My team stuck to the plan and executed exactly what I wanted from them. They passed the ball around without rushing, catching the Sugar Boys out of position, and then attacking with full force.”

Despite the margin of victory, Phillip was also quick to commend the coach, management, and players of the Sugar Boys. “They have a good team, but honestly, with my players running at them and pressing, they just couldn’t get into the game at all.”

The two women’s games that were scheduled both ended in forfeit wins for the Avengers FC and Wolues FC as the Panthers FC and VG Utd were unable to field teams.

In the Men’s National League, Lion Heart FC climbed to the top of the standings with a 6-1 drubbing of Old Madrid FC as Daveian Barnum netted four goals and both Dwayne Smith along with Michael Butt scored once.

Nano Ottley scored for Old Madrid.

In the other game played, One Caribbean got their first win of the season, seeing off One Love Utd by the odd goal in five as both teams were reduced to ten men before Errol Van der Muelen netted the winner in the 6th minute of added time at the end of the game, to make it 3-2.

Brent Bowman and Zeron Samuel put One Love 2-0 up inside the first 25 minutes, but One Love was reduced to a team of ten in the 34th minute when Carlos Septus made it 2-1 from the penalty spot in the 38th minute. Adrian Palladin equalized in the 61st minute, One Caribbean then saw one of their players sent off for a second bookable offense right at the death, but as the game seemed destined for a draw, up popped Van Der Muelen to seal the win.

BVI U20 Squad close out CONCACAF Championship with back-to-back victories for 3rd place finish

Jake Forbes’ 38th minute penalty secured back-to-back victories for the BVI to close out the CONCACAF U20 Championship in fine style and a third-place finish in Group A.

The final day of the Tournament, hosted by the Dominican Republic, began with the boys closing out in strong fashion with a 1-0 win over Dominica, to take third place in Group A, just two days after picking up their first three points of the tournament in a 1-0 win versus Sint Maarten.

Jake Forbes kept his cool in a dominant first half display shutting out distractions to fire home. “Their players were trying to put me off before taking it but I’m glad I scored and hopefully I’ve done my country proud,” said Forbes.

Forbes was a constant threat throughout the game and was an incredibly happy young man at the final whistle. “I was incredibly pleased with the overall team spirit throughout the tour. There were many positives and things that we can build on.”

It was a reshuffled team that took to the field with key players sitting out through injury, but each and every one put in a real shift to knock Dominica off their stride and create many chances to score. “The team was much more confident due to the win against Sint Maarten and built on the positives from that game to give us the upper hand. We did have a rough start to the tournament, but to come back and win two games is amazing.” confirmed Captain Malakai Stanners.

Coach Clinton “Tinnie” Percival was understandably a delighted man after a long week. “I am really proud of the guys. They played with pride and a never-say-die attitude. Even though we had to play the game without three of our regular starters, the other players showed character and the will to fight until the end.”

Percival also vowed to continue the processes established and see the boys realize their full potential. “Now that they have experienced the feeling of winning at this level, I can only see them going from strength to strength and we as the coaches will do everything that we can to assist them in the progress to greater things.”

BVI Football Association President, Mr. Andy Bickerton, who was on hand to witness the successful conclusion to the tournament, was also full of praise for the team. “With key players missing we knew knew we had a lot of work to do, and everyone gave 100%. All of them worked so hard and we could have won by three or four. We controlled them, did not let Dominica get into the game, we harassed them and chased them, and, you know that if you work really hard, you get the benefits.“

Bickerton was also reluctant to pick out any players for special mention in such a team performance, but Mekhi Walters in goal again impressed as did Malakai Stanners leading the team from a more central position. “Stanners held the team together,” confirmed Bickerton. “Having won two games, got six points to finish third in our group of five and then add getting our first win a day ago and now a win again today against all the odds, then you know we had great performances out there. Mekhi Walters again was great in goal. Jakes Forbes out front was just constantly causing problems. He had a great game. But you know again, it is difficult to pick out players. Malakai Stanners, Captain for the day, he held the team together, playing out of position in the centre of the defence. Justin Smith was his normal unbelievable self – both backwards or forwards – but these guys played together for each other, for their country and for National pride”

Bickerton was also quick to state that the hard work doesn’t end here. “We had National Coach, Chris Kiwomya here observing and helping, looking to see which players he wants to add to the National squad and obviously we have to find more competitions for this group. The players have showed him what big hearts they have and what potential they have. What we must do now is when the boys get back to Tortola, we have to work with them on the weaknesses that Kiwomya has identified. Our coaches will work with the players to help them improve themselves. Because if we can come out here and win two games like this in a tough group and then go away and spend time with our players to improve themselves, then what are we going to be like when those improvements begin to show? We now understand how to play in a system. We now understand how we have to support each other and we now understand how we have to run for 90 minutes.”

Kiwomya had used his observer role well and identified that after a tough start, the boys had shown real desire to win. “Today proved just what the boys can do. Obviously the first two games were disappointing, but with a lot of meetings and heart to heart conversations they all came out and showed desire to do everybody proud including themselves and the people on the island, so you know I’m really proud of them and the work they put in today as well as in both the last two games. We wanted it more than opposition.”

U20 Boys’ Football team face defeat in first CONCACAF Championship match

BVI Boys U20 lost 7-0 to strong Curacao team in opening match of 2021 CONCACAF Championships on Nov 5. Photo: BVIFA

The U20 Boys were handed a 7-0 defeat by a strong Curacao team on Friday, November 5 as they opened their Group A campaign in the Confederation of North, Central America, and Caribbean Football (CONCACAF) Championship.

The game, played at the Estadio Panamericano in San Cristobal, Dominican Republic, was a baptism of fire for the boys palying against a stronger, faster – especially when transitioning into attack – Curacao, who opened the scoring in just the 4th minute through Gio-Renys Felicia as the BVI lost possession on the right-hand side.

Naygiro Sambo doubled their advantage in the 18th minute and Curacao were 4-0 up inside the half-hour mark with further goals coming from Juruel Bernadina and Felicia before Sambo scored his second, making it 5-0, just after the re-start. The BVI though rallied defensively, and it was not until the final few moments of the game that Curacao scored through Shudelmar Dorand (90’) and Akram Potmis (90+3’) to pad out the final score at 7-0.

“The boys started the game in very high spirit but after conceding a goal within the first three minutes we never recovered,” commented Coach Clinton “Tinnie” Percival. “Curacao took advantage of our defensive mistakes but as the game went on, our boys started playing better. During the half time break we made a few changes and in the second half our confidence and ball play also improved, and we competed well up until the last five minutes of the game, when we conceded two more goals. I am confident though, that the team will make the necessary adjustments for the next game on Tuesday and have a better outcome.”

“A disappointing result against good opposition,” commented FA President, Mr. Andy Bickerton, who made the trip to support the team. “A lot of improvement (in the second half) and I am proud of the way the boys fought to the end showing great National pride! We have to pick ourselves up and move forward.”

The BVI’s next opponent, Grenada had a comfortable, complete performance in a 7-0 victory over Sint Maarten as Deanroy Phillip notched a hat trick (41’, 45+3’, 90+3’), while Aquil Lawlite (13’), Benjamin Ettienne (44’), Shermine Williams (61’) and Simeon Mitchell (73’) all chipped in with goals.

The full BVI squad includes, William Butler, Mekhi Walters, Oliver Henderson, Tai Thomas, Jalen Prentice, Jahmal Prentice, Ikyjah Williams, Justin Smith, Devin Jones, Alejandro Santos, Johari Lacey, Deshawn Richardson, Levon Williams, Luka Chalwell, Sheldon Toney, Gethin Jones, Jarrell Federicks, Milton Creque, Jaden Abrams, Jake Forbes, and Malakai Stanners.

The Technical Staff is Coach, Clinton Percival, Asst Coach, Ritchie Morton, Trainer, Javon Carty, Physio, Levy James, and Manager, Cathie Caine.

Apart from Grenada on Tuesday, November 9, the boys will also be playing Sint Maarten next Thursday, November 11 and Dominica on Saturday, November 13.

At the conclusion of the Championship, the finalists (two teams) will qualify for the FIFA Men’s U-20 World Cup Indonesia 2023 and 2024 Paris Summer Olympic Games. The two losing semi-finalists (two teams) will also guarantee their participation in the FIFA Men’s U-20 World Cup Indonesia 2023.

The 2022 CMU20 Championship Group Stage will be played the summer of 2022.

BVI Boys’ U20 Football squad in DR for CONCACAF Championship

BVI Boys’ U20 National Football Team departed on Nov 3 for the CONCACAF Championship in Dominican Republic. PHOTO:BVIFA

The BVI Boys’ U20 National squad landed in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on November 3 to compete in the Confederation of North, Central America, and Caribbean Football (CONCACAF) Championship November 5 – 14, 2021.

18 teams are participating, all ranked at 17th or below in the current CONCACAF Men’s U-20 Ranking and have been divided into two groups of five teams and two groups of four teams.

The groups are as follows:
Group A: Curacao, Grenada, Dominica, Sint Maarten, and British Virgin Islands
Group B: Dominican Republic, Saint Lucia, Belize, Saint Martin, and Anguilla
Group C: Bermuda, Puerto Rico, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Barbados
Group D: Nicaragua, Guyana, Cayman Islands and U.S. Virgin Islands

Following the conclusion of the qualifiers, 20 teams will participate in the 2022 CMU20 Championship. This will include the top four teams from the qualifiers and the region’s 16 top ranked men’s U-20 teams who have received a bye to the Championship.

The full BVI squad includes, William Butler, Mekhi Walters, Oliver Henderson, Tai Thomas, Jalen Prentice, Jahmal Prentice, Ikyjah Williams, Justin Smith, Devin Jones, Alejandro Santos, Johari Lacey, Deshawn Richardson, Levon Williams, Luka Chalwell, Sheldon Toney, Gethin Jones, Jarrell Federicks, Milton Creque, Jaden Abrams, Jake Forbes, and Malakai Stanners.

The Technical Staff is led by Coach Clinton Percival, Assistant Coach Ritchie Morton, Trainer, Javon Carty, Physio, Levy James, and Manager, Cathie Caine.

The boys face Curacao on Friday (Nov 5th), Grenada next Tuesday (Nov 9th) Sint Maarten next Thursday (11th Nov) and Dominica on Saturday (13th Nov).

At the conclusion of the Championship, the finalists (two teams) will qualify for the FIFA Men’s U-20 World Cup Indonesia 2023 and 2024 Paris Summer Olympic Games. The losing semi-finalists (two teams) will also guarantee their participation in the FIFA Men’s U-20 World Cup Indonesia 2023.

The 2022 CMU20 Championship Group Stage will be played the summer of 2022.

The United States is the current champion of the CMU20 Championship. The North American nation won its second straight CMU20 title and second overall after defeating Mexico 2-0 in the final of the 2018 tournament. The event took place at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.

BVIFA National League Results Week 1

Wayne Phillip opened the National League season in some style on Saturday, smashing in a hat trick as the Panthers FC overpowered One Love FC, 4-0 at the East End Stadium venue.

Phillip was irresistible, leading his team to victory with goals in the 2nd, 42nd and 84th minutes, whilst Sheldon Harry found the net in 77th minute

“All in all, we had a collective effort, with lots of passes and the team played well2 commented Phillip “We were extremely aggressive on top, striking a lot of shots on goal, with me getting three and Harry the other. The Panthers played really good football and defended well. Offensively we were aggressive, defensively we were aggressive and had lots of passes, all-over a great team effort and going forward, I think that the future is bright. We have made some changes to the team, a stronger midfield now that we are playing a five and all in all the future looks bright!”

The Sugar Boys FC hosted Wolues FC in the late game over on Virgin Gorda and were surprised to only end up with a share of the points in a 1-1 draw.

The Sugar boys dominated most of the play in the first half missing a few good chances but opening the scoring through a defensive mix up by the Wolues which resulted in an own goal. However, the Wolues improved as the game went on, despite remaining the inferior team on the night and offered the hosts numerous chances to extend their lead, none of which were converted, which the Boys would come to regret when Phillip Nelson equalised from a Noel Maxwell cross in added time at the end of the game.

“’We were happy to find a late draw against a very good team, we rode our luck a little but never gave up and got rewarded at the end with a draw,” noted Nelson.

VG Utd were also indebted to a late late goal, in front of their home crowd, as a Thomas Albert penalty in the 4th minute of added time gave them a 3-2 victory.

Curtly Peters had put the visitors ahead in the 3rd minute, Levon Williams equalised in the 23rd, Austin Prentice restored the advantage to the Rebels in the 42nd and Devante Samuel made it 2-2 in the 73rd, before the late drama unfolded.

The other game of opening weekend saw Old Madrid FC hold the Islanders FC 1-1 as Humphrey Leue equalised in the 81st minute after Patrick Glasgow had opened the scoring in the 65th.