The stage is set for the Emmet Caines Preseason Knockout Tournament following a random drawing held on Sept. 10 at the Greenland Field.
Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway, BVI Football Association competition manager, said on Sept. 10 that the men’s national league anticipates an engaging 2023-24 season and preseason tournament.
He added that the league is the “incubator for the development of national team players.”
After the board recognised contributors to refereeing, team management, technical works and other areas, the leaders from each of the 10 tournament teams took turns picking a number to set up the bracket.
In the first rounds of the tournament, Lion Heart FC faces Old Madrid FC; Virgin Gorda United faces Panthers FC; One Love United faces Islanders FC; Wolues FC faces Sugar Boys FC; and Rebels FC faces Positive FC.
The knockout tournament runs from Sept. 16 to Oct. 17, Mr. Greenaway said. After the first round, the five winning teams will again draw randomly for their next set of matches.
The top four teams will also have the opportunity to compete in a short tournament from Dec. 8-17. An Easter tournament is planned for March 16-24 for the fifth, sixth and seventh ranked teams participating.
This tournament recognises the contributions of the late Mr. Caines, husband of former legislator Alvera Maduro-Caines, to the development of football in the territory. He was involved with the BVIFA from 1975 to 1992.
“He was also part of the national team during the 1970s and represented the territory in games at home and in St. Maarten, St. Croix and St. Thomas,” Mr. Greenaway said.
He went on to manage the national team for 11 years and led the team to a win in the Leeward Islands Football Tournament in Montserrat in 1986.
“After his retirement from football and he was no longer a member of the BVIFA, he remained as a consultant to the association and could be counted on to assist in whatever way he was asked to do,” Mr. Greenaway said.
Ms. Maduro-Caines said while her husband had a passion for many sports, football always had a special place in his heart, and he was proud of his work with the association.
“I thank the association very much for doing this in his honour,” she said.
Association leaders said they look forward to a busy regular season as well. BVIFA First Vice President Avanell Morton said at least 130 matches are planned for the 2023-24 season, running next weekend through May 19.
The president’s cup will pit the top four teams for the season against one another for the final.
Mr. Morton also shared his pride in the territory’s first win “in a very long time” in the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football league on Sept. 9.
The VI team secured a 3-1 win against the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Preparations are also getting under way for the BVIFA’s 50th anniversary next year. Mr. Greenaway gave special recognition to Johnny Hassan, the first president of the association and former head of the BVI Athletics Association. There is much more planned for this season as well.
Though Mr. Greenaway said the details are still being finalised, plans are also moving ahead for the FIFA+ streaming service to begin carrying some VI games on Sundays.
The BDO Youth League is slated to begin Oct. 4 and run until Nov. 30.
Plans are also in the works for adult teams to “adopt” a school, with further details to be announced.
Mr. Greenaway said the association also anticipates a possible “masters” faceoff between the VI season champion and a team from the United States VI after the regular season concludes.