The Petra Organization in collaboration with the Ministry of Health officially launched their Soft Shoes Football Championship yesterday at the Brandsville Hotel.
The event which commences May 17th, will feature 24 community based teams competing in an initial group stage format. Matches for the event will be staged at the Tucville, West Ruimveldt and Santos grounds, with entrance to the matches free of charge.
Upon the conclusion of the group stage, the top two finishers from each group along with the four best third place finishers will advance to the knockout round.
The competing teams are defending champs Sparta Boss, Back Circle, Campbellville, West Back Road, Charlestown, Bent Street, Old School Ballers, Cross Street Werk-en-Rust, Stevedore Housing Scheme, Sophia, Holmes Street- Tiger Bay, California Square, West Front Road, Queen Street Tiger Bay, Broad Street, Upsetters, East Front Road, North Ruimveldt, Alexander Village, Leopold Street, Channel 9, North East La Penitence, Albouystown and Globe Yard.
The winning team will collect $300,000 and the Championship trophy while the second placed side will receive $200,000 and the runners-up accolade.
On the other hand, the third placed side will receive $100,000 and the respective trophy while the fourth place finishers will pocket $50,000 and the corresponding title.
Co-Director of the Petra Organization Troy Mendonca said yesterday:”The Petra Organization is pleased to continue our soft shoe football program again this year in association with the Ministry of Public Health.
“When we were approached to use one of our programmes to champion the cause Against Gender Base Violence the decision was automatic and easy to arrive at. So it gives us pleasure as a Sports Organization to utilize or talent and expertise in this respect for the wider Good of our Society.”
He continued “We expect to start around 17th May and conclude around 18th June. We have 11 playing and will be utilizing locations within communities. There wouldn’t be an entrance fee to the games.
“This tournament will ensure the skill and ability of our organisation is fully utilized and we welcome the challenge and opportunity to make a difference in our society through sports.
“Heartfelt thanks to the Ministry of Public Health for coming on board and to other sponsors, Busta, GTT, lucky dollar, Nigel’s Supermarket, Juniors Jewellery, Star Party Rental and 2 J’s General Store who continues to give support. And not forgetting the media, teams and spectators,” Mendonca added.
GFF President Wayne Forde during brief remarks said that the Petra Organization has been one of the front runners in football development, declaring that the federation is eager and willing to support any event that is geared towards the development of the sport.
He further praised the entity for a well thought out tourney while challenging the entity to extend their reach and influence outside of the Georgetown area.
According to Forde, football often draws players for challenging circumstances that feature gender based violence, noting that if the sport can make an impact and bring positive change, it should be applauded.
He further added it would be fitting for football to be the sport that commences a change in the area of Gender Based Violence as the discipline often is supported by players that reside in areas often affected by this issue.
Joy Gravesande, Health Education Officer of the Ministry of Health said the Ministry is happy to maintain their relationship with the promotional group which started started in 2013, noting that it will be their first attempt targeting the communities directly as they have previously focused on the schools.
According to Gravesande, the event is a great venture to promote the fight against Gender Based Violence and that the Ministry does not view men as the problem but as part of the solution.
She further said that various sessions will be staged with members of the competing teams, noting that she expects the event to be successful and wished all the teams the best of luck.