St. Kitts and Nevis will for the first time host the 2023 CONCACAF Caribbean Shield, a historic achievement for the tiny Caribbean nation. The tournament will run from August 3-13.

The CONCACAF Caribbean Shield, formerly known as the Caribbean Club Shield, is an annual Caribbean association football competition for clubs that are members of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU).

It is a second-tier competition to the CONCACAF Caribbean Cup and was introduced in 2018 for clubs which worked towards professional standards.

Until 2022, the winner of this competition, as long as it fulfills the licensing criteria, played against the fourth-placed team of the Caribbean Club Championship for the place in the CONCACAF League. As of 2023, the winner qualifies for the CONCACAF Caribbean Cup.

The Dominican Republic (2018), Curacao (2019, 2020*, 2021*) and Puerto Rico (2022) have been previous hosts. Through the efforts of President of the St Kitts and Nevis Football Association (SKNFA) Atiba Harris, St Kitts and Nevis will host the tournament for the first time.  The 2020 and 2021 tournaments were cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

 “This is indeed a historical moment for the SKNFA, our country in being confirmed as host of the 2023 Concacaf Caribbean Club Shield Tournament,” Harris said.

“The fact that Concacaf has entrusted us as hosts, shows the significant strides that we’ve made in less than two years in raising the standard of football in our country. I would like to extend best wishes to all participating clubs, in particular SL Horsford St. Paul’s United FC, who will be representing us as the defending champions of the SKNFA Premier Division.”

 

Newly appointed St Kitts and Nevis Football Association (SKNFA) Technical Advisor Claude Makélélé arrived in St. Kitts Saturday afternoon and was received by a high-level delegation at the KayanJet Lounge at the RLB International Airport.

The 50-year-old Makélélé, who as a defensive midfielder enjoyed a successful club career playing for French champions Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), LaLiga giants Real Madrid and many-time English Premier League champions, Chelsea, arrived on the island with his agent Sofiane Youssef.

They were welcomed by SKNFA President Atiba Harris, First Vice President Shawn White, Second Vice President Cuthbert Caines, and St. Kitts and Nevis Senior Men's National goalkeeper and captain, Julani Archibald.

The pair was also greeted by Prime Minister Dr. The Hon Terrance Drew, Sports Minister Samal Duggins, SKNFA Technical Director Lenny Taylor, SKNFA General Secretary Techell Mclean, Senior Men's National Team Manager Jamir Claxton and National Team Coach Austin Huggins.

 Makélélé, who was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, expressed his pleasure at being the new Technical Advisor.  “Football in this country is very important to me because I love this sport,” said the former player who was appointed technical mentor at Chelsea in 2019.

“It gave me many things in my life. It changed me and I want to give back.”

Prime Minister, the Honourable Dr. Drew, meanwhile, commended the SKNFA for taking this initiative of appointing Makélélé to this important role.

“This is the type of innovation, forward-thinking that we are looking for to develop sports,” Dr. Drew said. “I want to thank you for heeding the call from SKNFA to come to St. Kitts.”

The sports minister thanked SKNFA President Harris for the progress he has made in transforming football in St. Kitts and Nevis. Bringing Makélélé in as technical advisor is a step in the right direction. “We do not lack talent. We never did. We lacked the right training and expertise and to have a legend on our shores to impart his knowledge and experience, I think this is a step in the right direction,” the sports minister.

The man who was known as ‘The Octopus’ during his playing days because of his ability to cover ‘every blade of grass’ on a football field, has also served as an assistant manager at PSG and Swansea City and was a technical director at Monaco.

The Sugar Boyz are set to do battle against French St. Martin in Anguilla on March 23, after which they take on Aruba at Warner Park on March 27.

St. Kitts and Nevis Football Association (SKNFA) and La Liga club Cádiz C.F. announced a partnership on Thursday that will see young players from St. Kitts and Nevis getting professional and developmental opportunities at the Spanish club.

Cádiz (Cádiz Club de Fútbol, S.A.D.) is a Spanish professional football club based in Cádiz, Andalusia. Founded in 1910, the club competes in the La Liga, the Spanish top flight league where it hosts matches at Nuevo Mirandilla.

 The announcement of the potentially game-changing partnership was made at the Royal St. Kitts Hotel Conference Room where the President of the SKNFA Atiba Harris and the International Director of Football at Cádiz C.F., Enrique Martinez Perez, signed the agreement.

Also present at the signing was the First Vice President of the SKNFA Sean White, who is also the head of the SKNFA Marketing Committee.

Mr Harris said this opportunity will benefit both male and female youth players. He described the partnership as being significant as it will provide opportunities for local players pursuing pathways to professional careers.

“I think the dream for many of our players is to go to college or become professional footballers, so to formulate this agreement with Cadiz Football Club, a La Liga Club, it’s a realistic opportunity for our young players to have a realistic, standardized pathway to chase their dreams and become the next professional footballer or the many professional footballers in years to come,” said Mr. Harris, who incidentally signed his first professional contract with Cadiz almost two decades ago.

“Cadiz happened to be my first professional club. When I was 18 years old, I left the Federation to embark on a journey and today, 19 years later, we have an agreement that we are about to formulate with Cádiz Football Club and the SKNFA to make a standardized pathway for our youth players, to have a professional career possible.”

He added that the agreement would also help to raise the standard of football in St. Kitts and Nevis.

Meanwhile, Mr Martinez-Perez explained that under the agreement, Cadiz will take players from St Kitts and Nevis to Spain to provide them with opportunities.

“We will try to develop the talent we have here and they will have the opportunity in our club, Cadiz, to develop all their skills,” Martinez-Perez said.

 

 

 

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