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Coach calls for more help for schoolgirl football

Xavier-Gilbert

COACH of the National Under-17 female team, Xavier Gilbert, is calling on corporate companies across the island to provide more help for schoolgirl football, as the ongoing ISSA/KFC/LockerRoom Sports Schoolgirl football competition is currently without a title sponsor.

Gilbert, who coaches at Excelsior High, expressed his disappointment at the lack of support for the young girls competition, which has produced some of the talented National Under-17 representatives.

"I felt that on the heels of how well the U-17s did, I was expecting some sort of marketing strategy to assist with the schools programme.

"I am very disappointed, because the talent lies within the school system and the girls get developed from there," he said.

The experienced campaigner told the Jamaica Observer that due to the lack of support, many talented young ladies are not getting the exposure that they ought to.

"You will never know how talented a player is unless they have been given the opportunity to expose that talent. Many of these girls can get scholarships that will change their lives and the lives of their families, but they need the support so that they can show their talent."

The competition has been successful over the years and saw a good showing last year when Excelsior High won their fourth championship. The team is currently being sponsored by ABC Electrical & Sales, Cari-med and a new brand Sports Source.

"My girls are very fortunate, they are getting some assistance and this year they got uniform from Sports Source, but some teams don't. All the teams need some added incentives, if you (sponsors) give them a start they will find the rest," he expressed.

The 36-year-old has been at Excelsior for over 13 years. The team under his guidance has been to eight finals out of which they won four titles. He has also brought the National Under-17 team to all CONCACAF rounds since his involvement in 2006. Since taking up the reins of the Waterhouse female team in 2007, Gilbert has made it to three finals, winning one and losing two, while also assisting with the male Premier League team.

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