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Sint Maarten Netherlands-based players participate in a football training camp at the KNVB Campus Zeist

Thirty-four prominent football players all hailing from Sint Maarten or with direct ties to Sint Maarten attended a football camp on the grounds of the KNVB , the Royal Dutch Football Federation, a statement from the Cabinet of the Minister Plenipotentiary at the Sint Maarten House in the Hague said on Friday.

Present to welcome and cheer them on were the President, Vice President, Selection coach and coach from the SMFF (Sint Maarten Football Federation), the Minister Plenipotentiary of Sint Maarten drs. Jorien Wuite, President of the Sint Maarten Chamber of Commerce & Industry Board Benjamin Ortega and senior policy officer at the Cabinet of the Minister Plenipotentiary Kelly Busby.

Johan van Gein, the KNVB International CSR Partnership Specialist, in his introduction to the players explained the role the KNVB has played for the future of Sint Maarten post Irma.

As Dutch football expertise is a widely sought after commodity world-wide throughout 52 countries, the KNVB has created the World coaches training which compliments their philosophy that every child has to be given the chance to play football, where they receive the best coaching both on and off the field by using the power of football to motivate, mobilize and instill and strengthen core values.

Sudesh Sing, the President of the Sint Maarten Football Federation in his address to the players thanked the KNVB for the ongoing support post Irma where through the coaching program and facilities upgrade the federation has noted an increase in youth and youngster’s participation in the game of Football.

The numbers have been showing an increase of 100% since 2018, where the numbers went from 500 to 1000 participants. Sing carefully predicted an expected growth of an extra 100% in the near future.

The players in attendance were congratulated for their persistence in the field of football here in the Netherlands, many of whom form part of the national team of Sint Maarten. To ensure that they are prepared for the upcoming qualifying game against Guadeloupe, they will be embarking on joint training in the Netherlands under the coaching of Piet de Jong.

Together as a team with other players not selected for the National team, the players will be practicing and playing friendly matches.

The organizer of this initiative, Alain van de Listle, a student, during his vacation to Sint Maarten met with the SMFF where he was inspired to bring the players group residing and studying in the Netherlands to come together and form teams.

The first meeting of the group took place in the month of January at the Cabinet of the Minister Plenipotentiary in The Hague.

It is the intention to create a foundation under which the teams will fall. This will enable them to actively participate on a competitive level in the Netherlands and in friendly matches throughout the Kingdom.

The Cabinet of the Minister Plenipotentiary will assist in the formulation of the articles of incorporation for the foundation and in the process moving forward.

Minister Wuite congratulated the players and SMFF on this grand initiative and offered the support and encouragement from her Cabinet, who believes in the abilities of the players to shine not only as players representing Sint Maarten, but also as academics and young professionals in their capacities as Ambassadors for the island both on and off the fields.

The President of the Board of the Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Sint Maarten Benjamin Ortega applauded this initiative and spoke of the urgent need for the business community on Sint Maarten to buy into the successes of the sports in general.

Through private/public initiatives and sponsorship to such endeavors and the continued stimulation and development of sports tourism, Sint Maarten will be in a better position to not only highlight its ability to professionally organize tournaments, but through the support of its local talents both on and off the island, prepare and equip the young athletes for international tournaments, thus highlighting and strengthening the potential of the country’s own sports men and women on a professional and international platform.

The afternoon’s activities were rounded off with friendly matches amongst the members of the team.

PHOTO: Group photo