Eight Caribbean U20 Footballers From The Digicel Kick Start Football Clinics Chosen For Sunderland

Impressed by the immense talent seen throughout the region, Sunderland AFC makes decision to take an additional two footballers

Kingston, February 23, 2008 – In an announcement made today in Kingston, Jamaica, Digicel Football Ambassador, John Barnes announced the Caribbean U20 footballers who have been chosen to train for one week at Sunderland AFC’s Academy of Light in late March.

And the recipients of this once in a lifetime opportunity are:

Country, Name, Age, Position

  1. Haiti, Joseph Guemsley, 18, Offensive Midfielder
  2. Trinidad & Tobago, Leston Paul, 17, Midfielder
  3. St. Kitts, Gerard Williams, 19, Midfielder
  4. Suriname, Emilio Limon, 19, Midfielder
  5. Haiti, Renaud Brisley, 18, Offensive Midfielder
  6. Jamaica, Akeem Brown, 17, Midfielder (Right)
  7. Guyana, Andrew Murray, 17, Forward
  8. St. Kitts, Devaughn Elliott, 16, Midfielder

Initially, Sunderland agreed to take six boys from the region, but upon hearing the reports of the immense talent found during the six week tour, Club Chairman and former Irish International star, Niall Quinn informed Digicel Group CEO, Colm Delves that they would be inviting two additional players. Colm Delves explained: “Sunderland has been following the progress of the Digicel Clinics closely and was so impressed by the talent John had seen that they have invited two additional players from the Caribbean to train at their Academy of Light facility in Sunderland, England.

“The Digicel Kick Start Football Clinics has offered young aspiring footballers a fantastic opportunity to learn key skills of the game by training with world-class footballer, John Barnes and to attend one week’s training at Sunderland AFC. Digicel is a huge supporter of Caribbean football through the Digicel Caribbean Cup, Digicel Shield and Digicel International matches and these clinics are just another example of our commitment to the game. With the obvious success of these Digicel Clinics, we will be making this an annual event.”

President of the Caribbean Football Union, Jack Warner expressed just how the success of the Digicel Clinics reflects on Caribbean Football: “These eight players have brought National pride back into Caribbean football. Guyana, Haiti, St. Kitts, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago and Jamaica have new young football heroes. This further proves that Caribbean football is strong and we have the talent and the dedication to make our mark on the International pitch.”

Digicel Clinics’ Head Coach, John Barnes explains the selection: “In the six weeks of travelling we have seen an abundance of talent, dedication, togetherness and commitment. Though only eight have been chosen, it is important for the rest of the boys to know that it does not mean that they are not good enough but rather that these eight represent all of them. These eight young footballers will be representing not only their country, but the Caribbean. They are Caribbean Football Ambassadors and my hope, and I know Digicel and the CFU share this vision, is that their one week journey to the UK will open people’s eyes.

“20 – 30 years ago, Africa was an untapped market and Europe was slow to recognize the talent there and now see how many Africans play in Europe. The Caribbean is the new untapped market. In England, they now recognize the fact that Africa is saturated and that the Caribbean is the next place to get talented footballers coming out to grace the Premier League. Talent here needs to be harnessed and given an opportunity and these clinics developed by Digicel have done just that. These eight boys will prove to the UK scouts that the Caribbean is worth looking at.”

The eight Caribbean U20 footballers will begin their Journey of Champions when they set off to Sunderland AFC’s Academy of Light in late March 2008.