ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada – Perhaps, the most significant period in Grenada football history came in 1924, the year that the Grenada Football Association (GFA) was founded.
Well, that momentous occurrence will be challenged at the summit of importance, when the Caribbean nation hosts the 2016 CONCACAF Under-17 Women’s Championship (CU17W). It will mark the first time that the “Spice Island” will hold the finals of a Confederation competition.
“From the day, sometime in April, when we found out that Grenada got the chance to do something that it has not done in 91 years, we were excited,” GFA President Cheney Joseph said after Thursday’s draw. “But even as we reach another landmark, which is the draw itself, we feel more excited.”
Joseph and the entirety of Grenada have every right to be eager. After all, the eight-team tournament will be contested held March 3-13 at two of the best venues in the Caribbean: the Grenada National Stadium and the recently refurbished Grenada Athletic Stadium.
According to Joseph, a successfully organized CU17W could be the catalyst that fortifies Grenada’s ability to attract future events.
“The reality is that Grenada has a chance now to showcase brand new stadiums,” he remarked. “I know for sure this is like our World Cup. This is the biggest event Grenada has ever hosted in the game of football. We will do all that we can to try and impress in other areas.
“Already I’ve had discussions with the Minister of Sport and, to a lesser extent, the Prime Minister, about the possibility of Grenada becoming a good destination for beach soccer. That’s how we’re looking at it.”
How would the success of the CU17W measured?
“A successful tournament will mean all of the playing facilities are up on par with that of the main stadia,” expressed Joseph. “A successful tournament will mean the teams having adequate transport, the meals and the accommodation, as well as all other things that go with it.”
There is, of course, more to an international tournament than the organizational details. The pride of a country will also be on display.
“We have a chance now to show the friendliness of the people, the passion with the sport and hopefully display some great talent…undiscovered talent…on the field,” Joseph finished. “I’m very optimistic that we’re going to do a good job.
“We’re look forward to opening our arms and doors.”