HomeSportsMalta backs PFJL in support of U17 development programme

Malta backs PFJL in support of U17 development programme

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THE PROFESSIONAL Football Jamaica Limited (PFJL), in partnership with Malta, yesterday launched its Under-17 development programme at the UWI-JFF Captain Horace Burrell Centre of Excellence.

The pilot programme, which will see four teams – Arnett Gardens, Harbour View, Portmore United, and Waterhouse – compete among each other at the Under-17 level, will use centralised venues over three months starting on May 25.

Owen Hill, chief executive officer of the PFJL, while speaking at the launch, explained the process that was used to select the clubs participating in the Malta Elite Under-17 Development Programme.

“All 14 teams were put in a pool and were randomly selected. No team got any preference, and the truth is that we would have loved to have all 14 teams participating. However, we knew the reality, whether it is financially or otherwise, and, luckily for us, the teams that were selected are strong in their youth programme,” he explained.

Hill said it was of paramount importance to launch the Under-17 competition as quickly as possible.

“This is a culmination of many different stakeholder engagements, and we think it’s an opportune time now, as we know that the talent exists at the grassroots level and we would want to build on that. Malta stepped up and ensured that we can have a pilot programme running, and it augurs well for the football development in the country,” said Hill.

Clyde Jureidini, general manager of Harbour View, the Under-17 competition provides a good opportunity for local players to showcase their talent.

“I think it’s a good opportunity to start opening up more senior age development. FIFA has changed gears and now the focus is shining on the Under-17. The KSAFA Under-17 is set to start on the weekend and, at the JFF, they have an Under-17 competition that will start at the end of this month. So, this is good that the three are coming on stream, and we hope that they are coordinating. We also hope that it is spread, not only through the premier league teams, but through the parishes as well,” said Jureidini.

orane.buchanan@gleanerjm.com

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