Jamaica's football to get major boost under 10-year JOA/AFA/WorldEleven MOU

By Sports Desk December 23, 2020
Ryan Foster (left), Secretary General/CEO, Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA), Christopher Samuda (centre), President, JOA and Michael Ricketts, President, Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) during the JOA World Eleven Memorandum of Strategic Alliance signing at the JOA headquarters, Olympic Manor, in Kingston, on Tuesday, December 22, 2020. Ryan Foster (left), Secretary General/CEO, Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA), Christopher Samuda (centre), President, JOA and Michael Ricketts, President, Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) during the JOA World Eleven Memorandum of Strategic Alliance signing at the JOA headquarters, Olympic Manor, in Kingston, on Tuesday, December 22, 2020.

The Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) has signed a historic Memorandum of Strategic Alliance with World Eleven Inc./Argentina Football Association (AFA) with a goal to exploit advantages offered by the AFA’s Technology Institute and develop the sport of football in this country in every facet.

A first between World Eleven and a Caribbean country, the Memorandum of Understanding, in the first instalment, will last for 10 years.

Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, all parties to the agreement were not present at the JOA’s Olympic Manor headquarters in Kingston and the AFA in Argentina. Hence, the signing - streamed live from both locations - was effected under unique circumstances with pre-signed documentation uploaded to either party, who counter signed simultaneously to signal a done deal.

JOA President Christopher Samuda and Ryan Foster, Secretary General/CEO, signed on behalf of the JOA, while President of World Eleven Guillermo Tofoni signed on behalf of the World Eleven/AFA partners.

Under the memorandum, AFA Technology Institute will be marketed in Jamaica even as it develops local talent and helping it transition to the international stages of the Olympic Games and FIFA World Cup.

“The JOA consciously understands this culture of success which impels us to establish enabling partnerships and which has led us, with the facilitation of the Ambassador (Argentina), to World Eleven, an experienced Argentine football outfit engaged in the business of exporting the AFA football technology, which marries the teaching of practical and technical skills with a customized software that hosts E-learning, evolution and coach grading methodologies,” said Samuda.  

“We have to transition the game to a level where physical analytics, physical kinetics, long-term athlete development concepts and technical learning become the basis on which talent is developed, sustained and matriculated.

“So, as the JOA looks in earnest on a historic qualification of our male and female teams at the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, the 11 men and women on the field of play at the Olympiad and the World Cup must be products of a transformed education programme driven by technical, scientific and technological methodologies.”

Foster said the signing “represents another milestone for football not only in Jamaica, but regionally … and is a legacy from which generations of footballers will benefit”.

Foster continued: “The signal work of Mr. Tofoni, CEO of World Eleven Inc. and his team in facilitating this historic partnership; the stewardship and foresight of President Samuda in identifying and negotiating opportunities for the benefit or our membership and stakeholders; and my own passion to build viable partnerships within and beyond Jamaica that give meaning to lives in sport are motivated by service, an opportunity for which our colleagues and ourselves are grateful.

“Football is the winner today. Football is the victor today. And I am pleased that the JOA, World Eleven Inc. and the JFF, inspired by our stakeholders, have been able to champion the cause,” said Foster. “I have every confidence that we will be successful.”

World Eleven Inc., together with the AFA, are developing the AFA Football Technology Institutes (AFA FTI), which are football schools where all the experience of the last 40 years of the AFA is reflected and enhanced by the implementation of technology and software, and are seeking to expand the bases of sports practice for boys and girls from the age of five (5) onwards.

The mission of these institutes is to create spaces where boys and girls can learn and practice soccer/football in promoting social integration, inclusion, friendship teamwork, respect and excellence while experiencing the positive principles of Argentine football culture such as passion, joy for the game and healthy competition.

Tofoni, speaking through an interpreter, said he was impressed with the opportunity for developing boys and girls, particularly through a long-term partnership, adding “…I want to acknowledge the importance of technology that is going to help with the development of football”.

The World Eleven CEO also expressed satisfaction at executing the project despite the COVID-19 challenges and expressed a hope “that the culture of Argentina will be passed on to Jamaica through this contract”.

Tapia, the AFA President, extended “a warm welcome to everyone”, while bemoaning the pandemic’s influence for “not being there today to sign the document”.

A key player in the agreement, Argentina’s Ambassador to Jamaica, Luis Fernando del Solar Dorrego, admitted a realisation of “… the love we have for Argentina’s football based on the shirts of Maradona and Messi” worn in Jamaica.

“Of course, having noticed this, I had conversations with different persons, including Mr. Samuda, and because of the discussions this is where we are now,” added Ambassador Dorrego.

Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) President, Michael Ricketts, welcomed the opportunity to build its capacity.

“Like the Argentinians said, it is the first time they are signing any such arrangement with a Caribbean country. This certainly will build on our capacity from a technical standpoint and certainly from an administrative standpoint. They will help us to train our coaches and reorganize our offices across the length and breadth of Jamaica, both locally and at the national level,” said Ricketts.

“This is something that must positively impact the sport and we want to ensure that even from a grassroots level they would have helped us with our little boys and girls from a technical perspective,” he added. “So the JFF is very delighted and we are hopeful that years down the road we will see the fruits of today’s labour.”

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