BVIFA appoints former England pro footballer as new Men’s National Team coach

BVIFA appoints former England pro footballer, Chris Kiwomya as Men’s National Team coach

The BVI Football Association President, Mr. Andy Bickerton and 1st Vice President, Mr. Avanel Morton held a press conference on October 8 to welcome Mr. Chris Kiwomya as the new Men’s National Team coach.

Kiwomya has already been active at a camp in the UK for national team players as well as in the BVI overseeing a camp for the U20 boys ahead of their World Cup Qualifiers in the Dominican Republic in November.

“Chris Kiwomya will have responsibility for the men’s national team primarily and overseeing the progress of our younger age group teams such as the Under 20s.” stated Bickerton. “Kiwomya’s background is quite significant in terms of the direction we want to head and, from the BVIFA’s point of view, we are very pleased to have such an experienced coach on board.”

Kiwomya is an English former professional footballer and manager. He played as a forward from 1987 until 2002 – notably in the Premier League for Ipswich Town and Arsenal. He also played in the Football League for Queens Park Rangers, as well as playing abroad for Le Havre, Selangor and AaB. He also played for the England U21 team. After retiring as a player, he went on to gain his UEFA Pro Licence from the English FA and has coached and managed at clubs including Arsenal Academy and Ipswich. In 2013 he had a spell as manager of Notts County.

On taking up his new role, Kiwomya commented that he was looking forward to the challenge of working with the players and making the game more professional.

“It’s going to be a hard journey, but a really good journey and one where we are all going to learn together and work together to improve the standards of football, both as players and as Coaches.”

Morton noted that he had seen Kiwomya at work on a recent trip to the UK and had been impressed with his communication skills, levels of knowledge and the discipline with which he conducted his sessions. “He also has national pride and will be an asset to our organisation,” noted Morton

Part of Kiwomya’s role also will be to work with the Technical Director to put together a coaching philosophy and to implement a DNA of how we want to play football here on the island, but, as Kiwomya confirmed, “all the coaches will be involved and one thing I guarantee is the players will improve and get better so they are competitive, and we can go into games believing we can win!“

One of the main reasons Kiwomya was keen to accept the role was the hard-working ethos he had witnessed. “Basically I saw a lot of young players at the UK camp and also on Tortola and Virgin Gorda with talent and who are willing to work hard, which fits into how I like to work, and it suits me that they are keen to learn.”

Kiwomya has hit the ground running, not only with last weekend’s U20 Camp, but also putting together some strength and conditioning programmes for players. “It’s not all just about training, but sometimes also about physical work and getting the body stronger.”

Kiwomya will also be helping the women’s programme develop and will be working with the coaches, watching some of the training sessions and using his experience to get the women better technically and tactically.

BVIFA concludes first online Academy Coaches’ Certificate course

26 participants attended the BVI Football Association Coaches Education Department’s first online course

The BVI Football Association Coaches Education Department has just concluded its first online course – the Academy Coaches’ Certificate – with 26 participants successfully completing the four-module workshop.

A broad spectrum of new coaches took part in the Academy Course representing clubs such as Panthers FC, Islanders FC, Old Madrid FC, Wolues FC, Sugar Boys FC and Rebels FC as well as players from the National teams and experienced coaches looking to extend their knowledge with new ideas and discussion with the course facilitator, Jason Blake.

Blake who specializes in Talent Identification and Development and who has worked at English Premier League Clubs of Southampton, Burnley, and Bournemouth as well as the Canadian Football Association, put together the course content along with BVIFA Technical Director, Dan Neville.

Modules convered by the course included Managing a Match day, Talent ID, Long Term Player Development and
Session Planning.

Blakd and Neville were pleased with the way the course went.

“We are delighted to get our online coach education underway with our first Academy Coaches’ Certificate. Educating coaches on the islands and beyond is a priority for us and we feel the blend of online and live sessions run in conjunction with the H Lavity Stoutt Community College will have a great impact on the knowledge and performance of coaches from all sports.”

A ”live” education session for coaches on how to build a player’s technical base and which also was concluded recently on Tortola and Virgin Gorda with 18 coaches attending, is seen by Neville as a key component of the BVIFA’s overall development plan for football.

Sugar Boys win on penalties against Lion Heart in game one of the Super 6 best of three Final

Sugar Boys 5-4 win on penalties against Lion Heart in game one of the Super 6 best of three Final.

Sugar Boys FC staged a late comeback and then held their nerve to win a penalty shootout 5-4 against Lion Heart FC in game one of the Super 6 Final on Sunday.

The game, played in front of a vociferous crowd at the Virgin Gorda Recreation Ground, looked for all money to be going the way of Lion Heart as they led 3-1 with just over 15 minutes left of regulation time. However, the Sugar Boys have a never say die attitude especially on their “home” pitch, and staged a remarkable comeback, as first talisman Derol Redhead made it 3-2 in the 81st minute and then, deep into added time, McGraw Baptiste calmly stepped up to level the game at 3-3 from the penalty spot.

Lion Heart played a hard game and had thoroughly deserved their lead, not only making sure the final series got off to a great start but also making sure the fans got their money’s worth. It was an intense game with Lion Heart taking full advantage of the chances they created, but wilting under some desperate attacking pressure from the Sugar Boys.

Earlier, Dwayne Smith had put Lion Heart ahead in the 36th minute before German Gonzalez equalized in the 38th minute. Smith scored from the penalty spot in the 62nd minute to make it 2-1 and Nicarious Watt seemingly put his team well on the way to a big win in the 74th minute, to make it 3-1, before the drama unfolded.

With the momentum firmly in their favour, each Sugar Boy stepped up to score his penalty, whilst Lindon Wiliams served notice of his intent by getting his hands on a couple of Lion Heart efforts before making the all important save at the death to hand Sugar Boys the early advantage in the best of three series going into next Sunday’s Game 2 at the East End / Long Look venue on Tortola.

Meanwhile in the Women’s League

Laverne Fahie threading her way goal wards for Avengers v Wolues

Avengers FC further stamped their championship credentials on proceedings with a hard fought 1-0 victory over Wolues FC Women after Laverne Fahie scored the only goal of the game in the 10th minute.

Coach Gloria Fahie had pulled off a master stroke as she decided to push “Ebony” higher up the pitch and saw her confidence rewarded in quick fashion. “After that goal,” said Fahie, ”we played a compact defensive game and denied the Wolues many goal scoring opportunities. They had their usual quick passing tactic, but even if they did create something they found no way past Makeda (Fahie) or “Shay-Shay (Vanterpool) in defense nor the agility and skills of our goalkeeper, Britney Peters.”

Community engages in sports at inaugural BVI Beach Games

A cross section of the Virgin Islands’ community attended the inaugural BVI Beach Games which was hosted by the BVI Olympic Committee and four national federations at Brandywine Bay beach on June 27, 2021.

In keeping with the tag line, “Unity through Sports”, residents of all ages and abilities took advantage of the opportunity to try the free sporting activities presented by rugby, volleyball, football and sailing and joined in a pick-up game or registered a team to take part in mini tournaments.

“The feedback from all involved with organising this first BVI Beach Games is positive,” said Ephraim Penn, President of the BVI Olympic Committee. “While we had hoped that more people would have joined in, we understand that many had changed their plans to come to the beach when they woke up to rain showers in the early morning. Overall, we’re pleased with the event and feel it was a success with a good uptake of the sports that were on offer.”

“This is such a great day! We were a bit put off by yesterday’s rain but so glad that we decided to come out and bring the kids to have fun at the beach. We’re really enjoying the whole thing, including the food!” said one participant attending with her husband and two children.

The BVIOC’s primary mission in facilitating the games is to stimulate the community’s interest in engaging in sports and getting physically active but the ultimate goal is sports development and to foster interest and growth in the disciplines that are played as a competitive beach sports at regional and international level.

“Rugby has already sent national teams to compete in Florida and elsewhere. As the other national federations see an increase in interest from their members in playing competitively in the beach version of their sport, there’s potential to develop national teams that could then play against our neighbours from the USVI, St Maarten and Puerto Rico who would be invited to join in the winter 2022 edition,” said Penn. “The mid-term target is to host the first Regional Beach Games possibly in the winter of 2023 as a sports tourism product provided the COVID-19 travel protocols make it viable.”

The BVI Beach Games included music by DJ Cuffy, fundraising cash bars run by the federations for rugby, volleyball and football, food for sale by Brandywine Estate and ice cream by Icy Treats. Recycling of disposables was managed by Green & Clean VI Ltd. A collection table for the donation of non-perishable items for the Family Support Network was also set up as a charitable community out-reach element.

The June edition was made possible through collaboration between the BVIOC and volunteers of the 4 national federations and was sponsored and supported by ZBVI Radio, Nagico Insurance Ltd, Roadtown Wholesale Ltd distributors of Coca Cola products Dasani water and Powerade, VISAR, Public Works Department and Solid Waste Department.

The beach games took place the weekend after the traditional symbolic Olympic Day run, walk and cycle events held on Tortola, Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke on Saturday, June 19.

More photos of the event can be viewed on the BVIOC page on FaceBook

BVIOC to host Olympic Day runs and inaugural BVI Beach Games

The BVI Olympic Committee (BVIOC), in collaboration with member national federations will host the first community BVI Beach Games at Brandywine Bay Beach from 10:00am – 4:00pm on Sunday, June 27, 2021.

The BVI Beach Games is an initiative that was first introduced at the BVIOC AGM by the BVI Rugby Football Union as a potential community event following the successful beach rugby and CrossFit fundraiser they organised in November last year.

Working with the national federations for rugby, volleyball, football, sailing and triathlon as well as Castaways CrossFit, the BVIOC is facilitating a community-oriented event aimed at encouraging residents of all ages to try a sport and get active.

The day will feature mini tournaments, pick-up games and an opportunity for anyone to try the aforementioned sports.

“These inaugural games will feature sports that already have a beach version so we know that the land based events are suited to be played in sand,” said Ephraim Penn, President of the BVIOC. “We are excited to have a fun, healthy and physically active family-oriented event in a safe, outdoor space where the community can get together while maintaining their social distance in keeping with current protocols.”

The BVI Beach Games will include music entertainment, bouncy castles, food and ice cream for sale by Brandywine Estate Restaurant and Icy Treats as well as a bar. Recycling of disposables will be in effect and managed by Green & Clean VI Ltd. A collection table for the donation of non-perishable items for the Family Support Network will be set up as a charitable community out-reach element of the day.

The event will be the first of two annual beach games planned with the second beach games to be hosted in November 2021.

“The long term goal is to develop these disciplines that are already played as beach sports competitively at regional and international level with a view to inviting our neighbours in the USVI, St Maarten and Puerto Rico in the winter of 2022 and hosting the first Regional Beach Games possibly in the winter of 2023 provided COVID-19 travel protocols make it viable,” said Penn.

This event will take place the weekend after the traditional 1 or 2-mile Olympic Day run/walk on Saturday, June 19 in collaboration with the BVI Athletics Association and starting at 7:00am (registration at 6:30am) from the A.O. Shirley Grounds, Tortola and a 3-mile walk/run managed by the Road Runners’ Club and starting at 6:00am from the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College in Virgin Gorda. Cyclists are also welcome to join an Olympic Day ride in VG which will depart from the college at 6:00am.

Attendees at both the Olympic Day events and the BVI Beach Games will be required to observe the protocols of social distancing, wearing a mask and frequent hand sanitising while at the event.

BVI concedes CONCACAF World Cup Qualifier game to Cuba

It took a powerful Cuba team 70 minutes to finally break the hearts of the youthful Men’s National Team in a CONCACAF World Cup Qualifier at the Estadio Doroteo Guamuch Flores in Guatemala.

Having gone into the half time break at just a goal down, the BVI were still a threat in the second half, but then having spent long periods defending stoically, they were caught out as they changed formation and tactics looking to at least equalize and ultimately were overpowered in a 0-5 reversal.

“For 65 plus minutes we were reasonably comfortable and defended our goal well,” stated Interim Head Coach, Dan Neville. “At one-nil down you have to make changes and try to get a goal, unfortunately we got picked off on the counter by some good moments of quality from Cuba and some moments we’ll be disappointed by. “

Due to injuries and non-availability, several younger players had the opportunity to make debuts and also gain some valuable playing time, which BVIFA President, Andy Bickerton, saw as a positive despite the result. ”It’s a very young team and obviously they’re still learning,” he noted. “At times in the game you could see that they haven’t yet learned how to keep possession of the ball when they are transitioning from defence into attack. However as time goes along they will get more experience and become more comfortable in themselves and then we won’t be under so much pressure. We defended well and, as Coach says, it was only when we actually changed our line up to try and chase the game that we conceded more goals.”

Next up for the team is another World Cup Qualifier against Curacao, which will also be hosted by the Guatemala Football Federation and played on Saturday 5th June at the Estadio Del Trebol in Guatemala City with a kick-off time at 5pm EST.

National Football Team in Guatamala for CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers

The Men’s National Team is in Guatemala for the next round of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup, Qatar 2022.

With the Worldwide pandemic and regional quarantine protocols once again playing havoc with host territories plans and available alternative venues much sought after, the BVIFA was able to partner with the Guatemala Football Federation to stage its “home” match against Curacao at the Estadio Doroteo Guamuch Flores in Guatemala City on Sunday 5th June with a 6.00pm (BVI time) kick off.

The other opponents in this round, Cuba, have also elected to play the BVI at the Estadio Doroteo Guamuch Flores on Wednesday 2nd June with a slightly earlier kick off time of 5.30pm (BVI time).

According to Interim Head Coach, Dan Neville there were many positives to take from the defeats against Guatemala (0-3) and St Vincent and the Grenadines (0-3) in the previous round staged in Curacao although the next window also proves to be a massive task “These are two extremely tough games and played within 72 hours of each other” he stated “this means we will be looking at using the whole squad and everyone will need to be ready to compete when called upon”

There are two changes to the squad with Denvin Jones coming in for the injured Liam Blok and Charley McMillan Flores.

“Although there were many positives we need to evolve and ensure we exceed the levels of performance and application shown in the last window, and there will be some great opportunities to compete against some top players. As a group of players and staff we must embrace the challenge and meet it head on”
Joining Neville on the staff are John Reilly, Wendal Nichols and Levi James.

The full squad, once again Captained by Kristian Javier (AC Commonwealth) also includes Phillip Graham (Panthers FC), Daniel Gilford, (VG Utd), Will Butler (Poole Town FC) Luka Chalwell (Poole Town FC), Kevin Daniel (Islanders FC), Giovanni Grant (Old Madrid FC), Jerry Wiltshire (Maidenhead FC), Justin Smith (One Love FC), Denvin Jones (Rebels FC), Ikyjah Williams (Rebels FC), Charles Medway (Poole Town FC), Miquel Marshall (Poole Town FC), Carlos Septus (One Caribbean FC), Jamie Wilson (Bridgewater Town FC), T’Sharne Gallimore (Chesham Utd), Luca Reich (Wolues FC), Joshua Bertie (Andover Town FC), Tyler Forbes (Poole Town FC), Robbie Green (Wolues FC), Charley McMillan Lopez

Positive experience for BVI squad at CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers

The BVI lost 0-3 against St Vincent and the Grenadines at the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifier match in Curacao on March 30, 2021. Photo: BVIFA

While neither of the two results in CONCACAF Qualifying games for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 were the outcome the BVI Football Association planned for, the federation has come away with many positives.

In the first game against the professionals of Guatemala, the youthful and inexperienced BVI put up a marvelous battle to thwart their vastly more experienced opponents and there was certainly no disgrace in the final score line loss of 0-3.

On Tuesday 30th March, after just two days’ rest, the BVI returned to the Ergilio Hato Stadium in Curacao to face St Vincent and the Grenadines, who had double the rest time and showed their strength and power in racing into a 2-goal lead inside the first 25 minutes, through Oalex Anderson and Zidane Sam, albeit with the benefit of a slow start and mistake prone effort from the BVI.

Ringing the changes and giving first Luca Reich a debut, linking up with Tyler Forbes and Luka Chalwell in a fresh and energetic striking combination, the BVI took the game to the Vincy Heat and had them on the back foot for much of the rest of the game.

Carlos Septus, Josh Bertie, Tosh Gallimore, Jamie Wilson, Miguel Marshall et al put heart and soul on the line – threatening to score a goal that would set the hearts racing, but The Vincy stayed firm and scored a decisive third late one against the run of play, through Azinho Solomon.

Senior team debuts were handed to Justin Smith and Ikyjah Williams with both settling into defensive roles with maturity, pace and determination, meaning that the future will be a lot brighter for the BVI.

For the record, the average age of the team at the final whistle was 19, with less than 100 caps between them, which if the BVIFA’s development path continues at the same pace, then the rest of the Caribbean had better watch out over the next decade.

“I was very pleased to get on,” commented Reich. “I had a couple of good touches and was happy with my performance if not the overall result. Switching it up at half time and with the youths on, we brought desire and passion, played like we really wanted to work for a result, and pushed them all the way.”

Interim Lead Coach Dan Neville was philosophical about the result but pleased with the debutants. “The first half was very disappointing and we were very lethargic, but the changes at half time, with the young players coming up, made a huge difference and gave us some fresh impetus. We used to struggle off the bench, but now we have real game changers waiting for their opportunity.”

The BVI is effectively out of the running for progression in the qualifying tournament, but still have games to play against Cuba and Curacao at the end of May and early June, both of which will provide stern tests for the team, but one that will be relished as the young team looks ahead to the CONCACAF Nations’ League in September.

BVI concedes first game of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers to Guatemala 3-0

BVI Squad lost 3-0 to Guatemala in their first game of the CONCACAF Qualifiers World Cup Qatar 2022 played in Curacao on Saturday, March 27, 2021 Photo: BVIFA

Coming into the game against a team ranked 130 in the world by FIFA, home fans may have feared the worst, but right from the kickoff, the BVI withstood all that Los Chapinos could throw at them and even came close to scoring, when in the 13th minute, Jamie Wilson was denied by the quick reactions of Guatemala keeper, Ricardo Antonio Jerez Figuero.

Going ahead at that point would have sent shock waves through the visiting coaches, but as it was, the team under fire from their fans for under performing in recent games, calmed some nerves when they opened the scoring in the 21st minute, through their talisman Darwin Gregorio Moscosco Lom.

Phillip Graham in the BVI goal could do little to stop the effort by Lom, but from that moment on he pulled off four of five saves to keep the game alive. However, on the stroke off half time and again after chances to equalize through quick breaking football, Guatemala delivered a heart-breaking second goal through Moises Edwardo Hernandez Morales.

The second half saw gradual domination from the professional players of Guatemala, but strong, solid performances by midfield general, Carlos Septus, Jerry Wiltshire in defence, Captain Kristian Javier, Robbie Green out wide and the ever-dangerous Tyler Forbes kept Guatemala at bay until the all important third goal came in the 88th minute from Robin Bethancourth.

“It’s bittersweet to be honest,” commented coach Dan Neville. “I was delighted with the effort, enthusiasm and fearlessness of the players, but disappointed with the way we conceded and disappointed we didn’t convert any of chances at the other end. However, to be stood here and discussing the result rather than the performance against a team like Guatemala, who played really well, is a great benchmark for us.”

The team was set up to hit Guatemala on the break and to have created several chances is testament to the effectiveness of the team tactic and set up.

“We have to manage moments like those and make sure we convert those chances,” concluded Neville. “The result in truth was massive for us, the score line should have been closer and despite still being a work in progress there is so much to look forward to after performances like tonight.”

BVIFA President, Mr. Andy Bickerton made the trip to support the team and was enthused and excited by what he saw despite being disappointed in the result. “I guess if we had been asked before the game if a 3-0 defeat would have been acceptable, we might have said yes, but to play a team of Guatemala’s status high up in FIFA rankings complete with a full team of professional footballers, we played outstandingly. We had strong performances throughout the team and could have taken the lead early on before they scored. Ultimately we lost but can be immensely proud of the commitment and effort shown by the players.”

Bickerton was also incredibly pleased with the youngsters on show. “The youngsters coming on and making a contribution were great and we are definitely progressing along the player development path we set out 3 years ago.”

Once of those youngsters, Luka Chalwell, had already made a debut in England’s FA Youth Cup with his Poole Town teammates and was far from overawed by his World Cup debut. “I was so eager to come on, watching how fast and technical they looked just made me want to be out there. It was surreal though when I saw the 4th Official hold my number up to sub on and join my teammates, some of whom I had played with since a little boy and now we were all on the same field in Men’s football made me so proud. I was excited to get on and to have family watching both here in Curacao and back home was crazy! Their players like to talk a lot, but I didn’t let them get into my head, played aggressive and showed my skills.”

The BVI will remain in Curacao and play St Vincent and the Grenadines on Tuesday 30th March at 6pm.

BVIFA launches online coaching courses via app and in collaboration with HLSCC

The BVI Football Association has launched a series of coaches’ education courses, both via an online app and in collaboration with the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College.

The strengthening partnership with HLSCC now includes provision of coaching courses that are of benefit to anyone looking to break onto a coaching pathway, understand performance and how to improve it from both the coache’s and athlete’s perspective as well as further developing coaching ability. The course is offered through the Centre for Professional Development and Community Education (CPDCE), which is part of the Workforce Training Division at the HLSCC, is a self-sustaining and income-generating unit providing leadership in addressing the professional development and community education needs of the Territory and by extension, the Caribbean Region.

“Our FA coaching courses in partnership with the college have been designed to boost the knowledge and understanding of coaching across all sports in our region and beyond and offer full accreditation to those who complete them,” explained BVIFA Technical Director, Mr. Dan Neville. “The courses are online, delivered live by expert practitioners at times that will hopefully suit coaches and reflect the BVIFA’s commitment to developing it’s coaches and in turn the level of the participants on our islands and beyond.”

CPDCE was previously known as the office of Centres & Institutes (C&I). This office has been rebranded and re-structured to better meet the needs of the business and general community.

Professional Development refers to skills and knowledge attained for both personal development and career advancement that encompasses all types of facilitated learning opportunities, ranging from College certifications to formal workshops, conferences and informal learning opportunities situated in internationally acceptable principles and practices. On the other hand, Community Education encompasses all those approaches and activities that are concerned with life-long learning that has been established through educational and enrichment programmes within the local community.

The launch of the new range of courses further develops the ties between the BVIFA and the College following on from the access to courses that are offered by the International Soccer Science and Performance Federation.