Earlier this week, Cayman Cup football organizers announced the event was being postponed for a second time. With the Cayman Islands Football Association (CIFA) going through its own organizational transition, President Alfredo Whittaker said the tournament was simply not good business.
“We kind of came to some agreement but the price of hotels and what we would be paying to host a tournament that is really friendly matches wouldn’t give you the value of what you would be paying.”
Tournament Director and Under-20 Team Manager Antwan Seymour says the tournament fell short of their fundraising goals. Seymour adds key stakeholders such as government and the football association itself do not value in-game international experience.
“When you look at it and you compare Cayman to the rest of the world, talent wise we have the same talent. We put our shoes and socks on the same way. The difference between Cayman and other countries is their preparation.”
But is anyone prepared to fund an Under-20 boys football tournament in Cayman? Seymour says the answer is no.
“The association is struggling right now to give us a sense, and government hasn’t gotten back to us. We are pretty much just going off ticket sales right now and sponsors and we are still short.”
Whittaker says CIFA intends to support the development of the Under-20 boys, but with the association’s current finances in limbo, any support they could offer would have wait.
“Because of situations in the past, the banks we were working with decided to close our accounts.”
Upon Whittaker’s election in November 2017, FIFA lifted sanctions that would grant CIFA $2.5 million dollars. However, without an active commercial bank account in Cayman, funds are currently inaccessible. Under-20 Head Coach Gillie Seymour says the country’s attitude towards the game needs to change.
“Brazil has a culture, Brazil has a high culture, we don’t have a culture, in the Cayman Islands football is a past time.”
They say without international play, a team that has shown unlimited potential will simply fade away.
“It just wonders what could have been if the Cayman team just had that little bit more exposure that little bit more experience” says Antwan Seymour.
For now, the Under 20’s boys and the Cayman Cup have been benched.