Seychelles Schools’ Premier League |02 October 2021
Competition kicks off next week
The Premier League-inspired schools league was launched on Thursday night by British High Commissioner Patrick Lynch at his residence at Bel Air and the event was graced by President Wavel Ramkalawan, who is also the patron of the Seychelles Football Federation.
Foreign Affairs and Tourism Minister Sylvestre Radegonde, Education Minister Dr Justin Valentin and Youth, Sports and Family Minister Marie-Celine Zialor were also in attendance along with Seychelles Football Federation (SFF) president Elvis Chetty, National Sports Council chief executive Jean Larue and representatives of the teams.
There are currently 14 exciting community initiatives that are ongoing with the British high commission and among them are: A significant programme of police reform; world-leading expertise and support on anti-corruption; supporting and learning from local expertise at the forefront of nature-based solutions to the climate crisis; and launching a range of community-based projects.
“And the one we are most proud of is the Seychelles schools Premier League; again, a great example where we are partnering with local leaders in the sector, local expertise and local innovation. And from my meetings over the last few months, I am proud that we are not just working with coaches. We are working with educators. We are working with individuals who understand the young people they are working with, and who are dedicated to improving their life chances,” shared High Commissioner Lynch.
He explained that the project is at the heart of what everyone involved is trying to do with this project. We have drawn on that experience and are developing a project that has great ambitions:
- We strive to excite. I remember how it felt when I was younger to put on the shirt of your favourite team. To wear the full kit. To push your chest out with pride.
- We seek to involve families as part of the school community. To see parents watching their children play, encouraging them, being proud of them.
- We want to build esteem. For young people to see themselves scoring great goals on SBC News and Télésesel, to read their names in a match report in the Seychelles NATION,Today in Seychelles, and Seychelles News Agency.
- We want to promote health and activity. Like all parents, I struggle to get my children off screens. Let us do what we can to improve the physical and mental health of our young people. When we do that, we improve their life chances, immeasurably.
- And let that activity be a positive alternative to other lifestyles. Let us fill the gap that, in all countries, is too often filled with alcohol, drugs and other destructive issues.
The project is a collaboration between the two governments ‒ United Kingdom (UK) and Seychelles ‒ and Glenny Stravens made a presentation for those present. Referees, team coaches were also presented with their resources.
Putting the project within the context of the UK/Seychelles relationship, High Commissioner Lynch stated that “our shared history, our shared values, both reflected in our shared love of football. You will no doubt be very aware that all ambassadors and high commissioners have an agenda. The good news for the British High Commission in Seychelles is that this agenda is transparent and positive. It lives out the UK government’s vision of our international outreach, serving as a force for good. The UK has no selfish or strategic interest in the Seychelles. There are no issues of finance or sovereignty at play. It is about shared history, shared values, and, tonight, our shared love of football.”
The shared history is all around us: Forged over 200 years; Evidenced in the legal code and the language of education and government; The continued movement of people between our two great countries, and in everyday things like the police uniforms, driving on the left, the Victoria clock tower and the fact that it is perfectly acceptable to put milk in your tea noted humorously the high commissioner.
The British high commissioner also talked about tour shared history which has also given us shared values. “Importantly, this shared history has also given us shared values. Those core issues of community and democracy. The shared understanding that governments, presidents, principal secretaries and high commissioners serve at the will of the people and are there to serve the needs of the people. In a number of areas, we are doing that by drawing in UK - and international - experience, to work with local experts in support of the clear vision presented by the new government.”
This initiative for Seychellois school children has seen each school being allocated a Premier League team through a draw. This was followed by the draw for the competition. All schools received their kits and the kick-off of the league was done by High Commissioner Lynch.
Glenny Stravens, estates manager at the BHC, noted that the league will start next week as a pilot project and it will last for nine weeks.
“The SFF will be organising for transportation supported by the BHC and we will follow the games of the actual Premier League and all matches played on Saturday, the same two teams will play the match on Friday. In December there will be a football festival and in the spirit of being inclusive the schools on Praslin and La Digue will also be included in the league later this year. As from April next year, the BHC will also start a league for girls,” said Mr Stravens.
Rio Dubignon, Haulide Herminie, Darryl Padayachy, Noah Chilinde and Steve Marie
Anse Boileau: Eric Bertin; Anse Royale: Eddy Naiken; Beau Vallon: Jean Michel; Belonie: Gervais Waye-Hive; English River: Michel Emile; Independent School: Gerard Gonthier; Mont Fleuri: Robert Morel; Pointe Larue: Roger Labonté; Plaisance: Jeris César and Persévérance: Mugisha Ayubu.
Schools and EPL club pairing and team captains
Anse Boileau (West Ham United), Faizel Lesperance
Anse Royale (Leicester City), Pharrel Labiche
Beau Vallon (Chelsea), Jahdam Estral
Belonie (Manchester City), Sharmal Bonnelame
English River (Aston Villa), Riano Denis
Independent School (Manchester United), Sebastien Rassool
Mont Fleuri (Tottenham Hotspur), Lozenzo Hoareau
Pointe Larue (Everton), Steeghus Didon
Plaisance (Liverpool), Deon Arnephy
Persévérance (Arsenal), Brandan Bastienne