Saturday’s football festival at the Little Bay Park was high energy and full of colour as the young athletes showed off the brand new kits sponsored by a group of Montserratians in the North American Diaspora.
About 70 children between the ages of five and 16 participated in the event to play football and thank the sponsors for their generosity
According to Kelvin “Coach Kello” Ponde, the day was organised through the Department of Youth & Sports with the coaching support from Ahijah Daley, Deno Baker, Joshua Grant and Jemuel Cabey.
Uniforms for two teams were sent to the island by Hallice Pemberton, based in Canada, who manufactures uniforms. Pemberton had created the original designs which were then shared with Jadine Greenaway, co-founder of luxury homegoods brand Dove & Donkey, who refined the designs.
Two sets of 15 of each uniform design were sent to the island by the donors.
Greenaway, as well as Kevin “Showtime” Lee, are avid football fans and wanted a way to support the growth of the sport on island.
“We’ve been monitoring Coach Kello’s progress for some time and saw an opportunity to help. We wanted to see our young athletes outfitted appropriately and professionally for playing games at home, even down to their socks.” Greenaway told Discover Montserrat.
Greenaway added that they included symbols synonymous with Montserrat in the designs, The team uniforms are sponsored by Eze Bongo Industries of New York and MNI Boys & Girls club. The Eze Bongo uniform are orange and blue with a touch of green. The Montserrat Oriole and music symbols are also embedded in the design. The other uniform kit sports the shamrock, Union Jack and are red, blue and green.
Eze Bongo, a craftsman based in New York, said he was led to support the initiative after seeing videos of school children fighting. He felt something needed to be done to encourage more positive behaviours.
The sponsors, who include Veta and Eddie Burke, plan to from time to time will refresh the uniforms and fund other initiatives to help student athletes at home.
“How you look gives you inspiration to perform your best,” Greenaway added.
Coach Kello, who has played on Montserrat’s national team, said he was thankful for the support and plans to organise regular football activities for the young athletes to improve their skills.