By Steve Thomas

Observer Nevis Editor

(St. Kitts-Nevis) – They want to teach boys to play the game of life.

The St. Kitts-Nevis Football Association is starting a fully-sponsored Under-13 League that’s open to all boys, but with a higher ambition than just sports.

“The objective of the programme is to use football as the vehicle to ‘Save

our Boys’ by organizing a league that spans the Federation,” according to a release from the SKNFA. “The league is not limited to football, but includes lectures on life, communication and social skills. An education and HIV/AIDS component is also included.”

Work on the new league began with two meetings in mid-January. A committee for the U-13 League was formed with the following members:

– Mr. Stanley Jacobs – Chairman (General Secretary, TDC Newtown United F.C)

– Mr. Al Edwards – Deputy Chairman (Cayon F.C)

– Mr. Ervin Williams – Secretary/Treasurer (Newton Ground F.C)

– Mrs. Julie Gumbs – Deputy Secretary/Treasurer (U-17 Parent Support Committee)

– Mr. Lenny Lake – Youth Director

The president of the SKNFA, Peter Jenkins, elaborated on the new league.

“It’s two things. First, it’s self-preservation. When we see what our young men are doing to each other. They’re sending each other to the cemetery, the hospital and jail,” he said. “We want to stem those anti-social behaviours.”

The second reason:

“We have an abundance of talent. It’s highest in the under-13 category than in other categories,” he said. “They will be together for four years to prepare for the under-17 FIFA World Cup in 2011.”

Those who don’t shine on the field will have reasons to participate, Mr. Jenkins said.

“Those not able to make it in football, we think we can help them make it in other ways,” he said.

The league will offer lessons on health and positive social behaviour, he said. This will encourage young men to follow positive paths, perhaps becoming doctors, lawyers, or teachers, Mr. Jenkins said.

“We believe we can help them achieve their potential,” he said. “This is our contribution to saving our young boys on St. Kitts and Nevis.”

A public meeting was held on Jan. 30 at the Old Road Community Center to discuss the league. A second is set for Friday, Feb. 1, 6 p.m. at Newtown Community Center.

Other meetings are set for Saturday, Feb. 2. The first is at 10 a.m. at St. Pauls Community Center. The second is set for 1 p.m. at the Cayon Community Center.

According to a release from the SKNFA, the meetings will cover:

– The start of the league;

– The rules of the communities

– Rules and regulations and assorted topics.