Football: Gran Kaz U-17 National League |15 April 2023
Champions rewarded during ‘Night of the Stars’
Winners of the inaugural Gran Kaz U-17 National League launched last year recently received their prizes during a special awards ceremony held at the Gran Kaz Casino in Bel Ombre.
Conceptualised by technical director – directeur technique national (DTN) – Osama Haroun for the Seychelles Football Federation (SFF), the league featured six teams, namely Marine Maintenance, Rovers, Foresters, La Passe, Mont Fleuri and Côte d’Or.
Themed ‘Night of the Stars’ the awards ceremony was attended by the president of the Seychelles Football Federation (SFF) Elvis Chetty, chief executive Denis Rose, chief executive of Gran Kaz Jonathan Paul, SFF consultant Georges Bibi, SFF executive committee member for women’s football Shella Mohideen, and management of Gran Kaz, along with players and coaches.
Kicking off the ceremony, public relations and communications manager for Gran Kaz Shama Amesbury noted that the company is honoured to play a role in the development of football in Seychelles, providing opportunities for the youth interested in football to, from a very young age, discover, hone and develop their talent, skills and techniques, while also providing them with the opportunity to possibly one day play football professionally.
On behalf of the SFF, Mr Chetty thanked Gran Kaz for their support in making the league a reality, and for pulling together such an amazing event to bring the league to a close.
He noted that this was not the first time Gran Kaz had stepped up to help the federation to realise its projects for the development of football.
He reminded those present that the partnership between the SFF and Gran Kaz goes as far back as 2018 when they first signed a memorandum of understanding, with a sponsorship of R180,000 towards the development of football in Seychelles.
Mr Chetty also thanked the Mr Haroun for conceptualising the project, which aims to further develop youth football.
He then handed over an award to Dr Carol Nalletamby who has been appointed as the SFF’s new ambassador for youth football.
Mr Chetty noted that since last year, the SFF has been putting a lot of emphasis on the development of youth and women’s football, and Dr Nalletamby, as a woman, has given so much to see the grassroots youth football project realised.
Accepting the award, Dr Nalletamby said her aim is to see more young people staying off the streets by getting involved in football.
It was Marine Maintenance who finished as champions of the inaugural Gran Kaz U-17 national League with 65 points, finishing ahead of runners-up Rovers who accumulated 60 points. Foresters finished third overall on 59 points, ahead of La Passe who were fourth on 39 points, while Mont Fleuri finished fifth on 36 points, with Côte d’Or finishing sixth overall on 17 points.
Champions Marine Maintenance received their trophy from Messrs Paul and Chetty.
There were also several individual awards with Rio Dubignon taking home the best referee’s trophy, finishing ahead of the other nominee for the award Haulide Herminie. Dubignon received his trophy from Mrs Mohideen.
Adrian Clarisse from Rovers FC and Liam Esther from Marine Maintenance were both nominated for the title of best goalkeeper, but it was the latter who was selected as the best, receiving his award from Mr Bibi.
The league’s top scorer award was shared between Lorenzo Hoareau of Foresters and Dahan Fanchette of La Passe, after they both scored 10 goals during the competition. They received their trophies from Mr Rose.
The two were also nominated for the best player award and it was Fanchette who took home the trophy.
The awards presentation was followed by a performance from local artist Daniel who took the opportunity as a role model to the youth to impart a few words of wisdom, advising them to follow their dreams, and to remember that in order to achieve them, they need determination and discipline.
He further urged them to stay away from things and situations that will only prevent them from realising their goals.
“Remember you cannot be a professional athlete and smoke, you cannot be a professional athlete and drink, you cannot be a professional athlete and do drugs,” Daniel told them, advising them to make smart choices.
The young players were also able to show off some of their skills and even challenged their coaches to a little ball control competition on the Gran Kaz’s blow up pitch.
As a whole, it was a fun night for all, celebrating and honouring discipline, skills and team spirit of all the young players.
Through Gran Kaz’s sponsorship, all league matches were recorded and shared on their YouTube channel and social media platforms, garnering a viewership of almost 14,000.
“We are confident that this visibility has increased public interest in youth football, and with it will come further support for the young aspiring footballers of Seychelles,” noted Ms Amesbury who added that “the videos have also proved to be a good training tool that coaches and players alike can refer to in order to improve their skills, techniques and game strategy.”
Gran Kaz put a total of R400,000 into the League.
Text and photos contributed