UNLIMITED TAL­ENT POOL KEEPS UWI FC AFLOAT

The Star (Jamaica) - - FRONT PAGE - DANIA BOGLE Se­nior STAR Writer

Hav­ing ready-made sup­ply of tal­ent has gone a far way in help­ing UWI FC stay among the most com­pet­i­tive teams in the Red Stripe Pre­mier League.

In the team’s first year of pro­mo­tion, they fin­ished fifth in the league, just out­side the top four needed for a semi-fi­nal spot, and are cur­rently lead­ing the stand­ings af­ter nine rounds this sea­son.

Last week, newly pro­moted Ja­malco FC and Maver­leyHugh­en­den quoted fig­ures of ap­prox­i­mately $2 mil­lion per month to keep their teams vi­able, fig­ures way above what they spent in their re­spec­tive parish Su­per Leagues.

How­ever, UWI Di­rec­tor of Sports Dal­ton My­ers told STAR Sports that the team, which is linked to the Uni­ver­sity of the West Indies, Mona, has been able to save some of the ex­penses re­lated to tal­ent as mem­bers of the foot­ball team are stu­dents on schol­ar­ship at UWI.

SCHOL­AR­SHIP PLAY­ERS

“We try not to spend too much be­cause we just don’t have it. We spend be­tween $1 mil­lion and $1.6 mil­lion per month. How we struc­ture our thing is to have mostly stu­dents on schol­ar­ship {play­ing} and that drives down the cost,” he said, adding that Pre­mier League teams bud­get be­tween $14 and $21 mil­lion per sea­son for ex­penses.

“We were also able to drive down other costs be­cause we al­ready have a sport­ing fa­cil­ity and we have in­ter­col­le­giate and other com­pe­ti­tions and we pig­gy­back on those, not to drive up other costs through­out the year,” he said.

The team also saves funds by not try­ing to spend a lot on trans­fers.

“The way we man­aged pro­mo­tion helped in a big way. Af­ter we lost our first three games, we didn’t go for any top player, we just as­sisted play­ers to be­lieve in them­selves, im­proved our meal pro­gramme, and med­i­cal pro­gramme,” he said.

My­ers added that the team has also been able to raise funds through spon­sor­ship from Lu­cozade and Soc­cer Ex­press; gate re­ceipts; the Pre­mier League Clubs’ As­so­ci­a­tion; and fund­ing from the UWI.

EN­SUR­ING WELL-BE­ING

My­ers said much of the fi­nances go into en­sur­ing the well-be­ing of the team.

“We have to take med­i­cal [sta­tus] and well-be­ing of the ath­letes way more se­ri­ously – in­jury man­age­ment, re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion, pool ex­er­cise ... .”

He said that while the fi­nan­cial pay­back is nil, the uni­ver­sity has re­spon­si­bil­i­ties to the com­mu­nity which it has to ful­fil.

“From a fi­nan­cial stand­point, it’s not our most prof­itable be­cause the money you pump in you will not be able to make it back. Our role is that of a ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tion and you must make a con­tri­bu­tion to de­vel­op­ment. The other way we will look at is how we con­trib­ute to­wards the com­mu­nity,” he said.

That be­ing said, My­ers noted that the team per­formed above ex­pec­ta­tion last sea­son, and they hope to do even bet­ter this year.

“Our first year and this year have been a big suc­cess – way big­ger than we an­tic­i­pated. [Last sea­son,] we aimed to fin­ish in the top eight – we just didn’t want to get rel­e­gated – and we fin­ished fifth. We al­most fin­ished in the top four.”

GLADSTONE TAY­LOR/ PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Radico Welling­ton of Maver­ley-Hugh­en­den (right) heads the ball as he is chal­lenged by Ke­mar Douglas of UWI FC in their Red Stripe Pre­mier League game on Septem­ber 18.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Jamaica

© PressReader. All rights reserved.