Cayman 27’s Jordan Armenise sat down with CONCACAF President Victor Montagliani in a one on one interview. On Tuesday (12 March) CONCACAF wrapped up its Leadership Forum, where members of football’s governing bodies gathered for two days.
JA: Tell us a little about the CONCACAF Leadership Conference, and what was discussed?
VM: “It’s a series of conferences throughout the region where we get 6,7,8 presidents and general secretary’s together. We speak about the pillars of good governance, and also about leadership. We share stories, but we also share our vision, and the key pillars of leadership itself; how we move forward and grow as individuals and presidents. Today was a culmination of that, and I am happy to be here in Cayman.”
JA: Many stories have been written about the Cayman Islands Football Association, but some would say they are back on the right track. In March 2017, we spoke about your fiduciary duty to CIFA. Later that year, Alfredo Whittaker was elected CIFA President, and has now steered CIFA back on the right track. What are your thoughts on CIFA and Alfredo Whittaker?
VM: “Alfredo came in with a massive challenge, like many of us in football since 2015. I think my hat goes off to Alfredo. For those of us who know him, and here in Cayman, he has the heart of a lion. He loves football. He loves the youth. That comes out in his leadership. He’s done a tremendous job with Cayman football back on track. Now, they are in a position over the next few years to see a north star in terms of good governance, development, competition. He has CONCACAF’s support, and me as President in terms of the work he’s done, and will continue to do.”
JA: What recommendations have you given Alfredo on where to take football in the Cayman Islands?
VM: “There are so many things to do, it’s overwhelming at times. It’s about focusing on some key areas of youth, and development, as well as trying to rebuild bridges. There has been a tremendous amount of work. There has been good governance in CONCACAF, and Cayman. It’s time for the football family in Cayman, and the family in Cayman, ie: the authority, to come together and push this game forward. I think the children deserve that.”
JA: Can CONCACAF having a bigger presence in Cayman?
VM: “We didn’t just come here for the great hospitality in Cayman, and the great food. It’s a sign, and an opportunity as we move forward to have other events here. Sports tourism is a big thing here, not only in Cayman, but in other areas. There are opportunities, and a lot of the assets we are building where Cayman can play a significant role in that.”
JA: Cayman will face Montserrat in the fourth and final game next Saturday (23 March) of the CONCACAF Nations League qualifying stage. Cayman is more than likely in the third tier at this point as they search for both their first win, and first goal of the qualification stage. How do you think this game will play out?
VM: “I think Cayman should be buoyed by the results of Cayman. They’ve competed. They were only down 2-0 late in the match versus Jamaica. Some of that has to do with fitness. I think the Nations League shows exactly you where you are, which is good, so you know where you have to go. This is a massive game for both of them. Montserrat has a chance to go to the Gold Cup, which would be an incredible story. Obviously, Cayman wants to play spoiler, but also get off to a good foot. This game sets you up for the League of Nations which starts in September.”