Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has outlined the importance of sports and achieving life-long success on and off the field.

He explored this link last Saturday, while delivering the feature address at the Barbados Football Association’s (BFA’s) 13th Annual Awards presentation ceremony at the Deighton Griffith School, Kingsland, Christ Church.

Mr. Stuart intimated that football was no longer a source of recreation or entertainment, but a viable career option which could be pursued by the youth.

"Among spectatorship are persons who are visitors or persons who have contacts with people outside of Barbados and depending on their perception of your competence on the field and how they view your capabilities as a player, greater opportunities can be open to you outside of Barbados, playing at a much higher level.?? You can also expand your educational opportunities and craft a better and more reliable future for yourself," he surmised.

The Prime Minister also urged the footballers to display good behaviour and to handle the success and failures while on the field as a means of building good character. "On the field of play you have to be always on your best behaviour and wear your jerseys with pride.?? What sport does, is to teach you how to manage success on and off the field… In life things are not going to always go the way you want them to go and as I have said over and over, there is nothing called instant success.

"Success has to be worked at and you can only be the best footballer in Barbados if you are prepared to make the sacrifices, while recognising that things will not go well or they may go beyond your expectations," Mr. Stuart underlined. ??

He also spoke about team work and cooperation among players and reminded them that wearing the team jerseys elevated their status to that of ambassador for their respective communities.

Mr. Stuart also implored the players to cooperate with each other and to respect the ??officials. ??"Even though you have your own preferences, working with others is very important and you have to sync your own likes and dislikes for the benefit of the team." ??

He also reiterated Government’s commitment to the continued development of sports and the provision of sporting facilities. "Over the years we have provided the infrastructure which sports teams need to be able to give expression and full play to their talents.?? That commitment will continue because as far as we [government] are concerned, sport is too important to be treated lightly." The Prime Minister added.

Meanwhile, Minister of Family, Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, expressed concerned about rampant drug use and violence at football matches. "If you want to excel in football you cannot involve yourselves with illegal substances.?? So, that is why we continue to implore both through the BFA and certainly through the Ministry that we want to have clean sports."

He further stated: "We need to take a stand against those sporadic and isolated cases of endangering of people’s lives by those who should know better.?? We have had cases during the last season of gun fire being used at some of our games. We have to take a united stand against this.?? In the game of football there is no place for violence…," Mr.Lashley asserted.

He also congratulated the BFA on achieving a century of excellence in football and giving back to the community.??

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