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Football   Betsy honoured to join Arsenal as U23 head coach   |14 August 2021

Football     Betsy honoured to join Arsenal as U23 head coach   

Kevin Betsy proudly shows off the Arsenal shirt after signing as the under-23 team head coach

“It’s an honour and privilege to be joining Arsenal as Under-23’s head coach.”

This was Kevin Betsy’s first reaction after his appointment as head coach of English Premier League side Arsenal’s under-23 team.

Seychelles-born Betsy replaces Steve Bould, who left Arsenal at the end of last season. He had spent the past five years with the English Football Association, working across multiple age categories within the England youth teams set-up, including as under-15, under-17 and under-18 head coach.

Betsy started his coaching career at the Fulham Academy before joining the Football Association.

In his first interview to following his appointment, Betsy said: "This is also a club with a very strong current record of developing young football players for the highest level, but also placing an emphasis on producing well-rounded young people.

"I’ve had a tremendous five years working with the Football Association in vital roles across the England youth teams. During this time I’ve worked with many hugely talented young players and some amazing colleagues in a wide range of departments.”

The 43-year-old added: "I would like to take this opportunity to thank the FA and in particular technical director John McDermott for allowing me to take this opportunity and making my transition into Arsenal so smooth.

"Throughout my recruitment process, I’ve had some extremely positive discussions with Per Mertesacker, Luke Hobbs and senior management at Arsenal, which has made my decision to come to the club even easier.

"My work starts here and together with the talented people at this club, we aim to continue the strong work of providing the pipeline of talent to support the first team, while at the same time instilling the values and traditions of this football club, so that young players are ready for life as well as football.”

Arsenal academy manager Per Mertesacker is pleased that Betsy has joined the Gunners.

"We are incredibly pleased that Kevin is joining us and we discovered throughout the interview and recruitment process that Kevin is excited and passionate about joining the club and our Academy.

“He has had very strong experiences through academy and youth football, and has a wealth of knowledge and ability.

“We are excited that Kevin will drive us to continue to deliver on our vision to develop and build ‘Strong Young Gunners’," the ex-Arsenal defender told

Kevin Betsy’s father, Lewis Betsy, is proud of his son’s achievements and he wrote in Seychelles Life.

“It is a rich reward for the amount of time and dedication Kevin and his family have put into the sport. We are so pleased and proud,” said Betsy senior who is a former footballer himself with stints with Rovers and Rangers in the club era of the 1970s. He also captained the Seychelles national team at the first Indian Ocean Islands Games (IOIG) in Reunion in 1979, winning the silver medal.

Lewis Betsy is also the publisher of Seychelles Life and he wrote in the same publication that his great footballing friend, Gerard Hoarau, gave him a blue and white ball for Kevin when he was born.

Betsy senior also wrote that Gerard told him: “Make sure he becomes a footballer.”

In fact, Kevin Betsy discovered football when his parents were forced to move to England. “Kevin was always kicking a ball about, or against a wall. People kept telling me how good he was. When he was nine he joined the Cavaliers team in Bracknell, Berkshire, and scored 92 goals in his first year,” wrote Betsy senior who has been overwhelmed with the reaction Kevin’s appointment has generated.

“We want to thank all the Seychellois people, and friends throughout the world, who have sent congratulatory messages to us. We offer a very big thank-you to them for their support,” said Betsy senior.

Kevin Betsy made more than 400 appearances in English league football, as well as representing Seychelles, during his 18 years as a player.

He gained promotion from each of the four league divisions during spells with clubs which included Barnsley, Bristol City, Oldham Athletic, Southend United, Woking and Wycombe Wanderers. Most notably, he was part of the Fulham side who won promotion from League One and the Championship, featuring in the English Premier League in the early 2000s.

Like his dad, Betsy (Kevin) represented Seychelles at the Indian Ocean Islands Games which the country hosted in 2011. He netted Seychelles’ goal in the final against Mauritius, which finished 1–1. Then, he scored in the resulting penalty shootout which Seychelles won 4–3 to claim the gold medal for the first time.

Betsy also has founded a charity ‒ the Kevin Betsy Foundation ‒ in Seychelles to help coach young players and supply football kit.


Compiled by Gerard Govinden

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