Saturday 17 November, 2018

Ricardo Fuller calls on young footballers to strive for excellence

Former Jamaica international Ricardo Fuller speaks at a leadership and mentorship clinic at Digicel headquarters in downtown Kingston on Thursday. (PHOTO: Marlon Reid).

Former Jamaica international Ricardo Fuller speaks at a leadership and mentorship clinic at Digicel headquarters in downtown Kingston on Thursday. (PHOTO: Marlon Reid).

Former Jamaica international Ricardo Fuller has called on young footballers to strive for excellence as they get ready for the Digicel-sponsored urban area Manning Cup football season.

The 38-year-old Fuller made the call at a leadership and mentorship clinic hosted at Digicel headquarters in downtown Kingston on Thursday.

As part of its commitment to youth sports development, Digicel, through its sponsorship of the 2018 ISSA schoolboy football competition, is staging leadership and mentorship clinics for players and coaches under the guidance of Fuller, who the telecommunications firm and entertainment provider appointed Competition’s Programme Ambassador.

The leadership and mentorship clinics are part of a campaign designed to raise the standard of play and develop the soft skills players need in order to succeed.

Mentorship and Leadership Clinic with Ricardo Fuller

In the audience were players, as well as coaches from Kingston College, St Andrew Technical High School, Holy Trinity High, Jamaica College, Cumberland High and Tarrant High.

Fuller used the opportunity to reminisce about his playing days, outfitting for different clubs at various levels in England. He talked about working hard to gain success and getting over the disappointments in his career.

While advising that "a winner is a loser who never gives up," he told audience about crying after his first contract with Charlton Athletic was cancelled, after he failed the medical because of a spinal condition.

Fuller told the young footballers about having to work harder than before to ensure that he would be able to fulfill his professional ambition, after undergoing surgery to correct his spinal condition. He said that although not being able to swim, at times he had to spend 20 minutes in the deep of an Olympic-sized pool, running in the water, to keep afloat and to regain his full health.

He told the players that they must make use of the opportunity at the various levels of football.

Fuller said while playing professionally, he used to watch age-group players at the club's academy and realised that it was the same level of football that the young players in Jamaica are exposed to at high school.

The stop at Digicel headquarters was Fuller's second face-to-face interaction this week with young players in his role as a Digicel ambassador.

On Wednesday, Fuller was at Charlie Smith High where he told the Manning Cup squad that "being in England was a dream come true for me as I was a little boy coming from Tivoli Gardens. The feeling was out of this world  and sure you guys would want to experience that."

Fuller further told the young footballers from Charlie Smith High that they need to have discipline in order to survive in sports.

He said, "football is much more than football, the camps, the sleepovers. Talent is a basic requirement, mental toughness, hard work, perseverance, the sacrifice, the passion. You have to have the will. We also know the skill can always stay, but the will has to be there, the will has to be stronger than the skill.  The discipline and the academics will have to be there also.

"Football is a division of labour you do your part, do your part well even if your team is losing."

The 2018 season is scheduled to kick off on Saturday, September 8 with seven Manning Cup games and 32 daCosta Cup matches.

Digicel and Wisynco have signed as title sponsors of schoolboy football for the next three years.

Digicel, in its second stint as title sponsors, will invest $75 million over three years in the urban area Manning Cup and Walker Cup knockout competitions. Wisynco announced a sponsorship package of close to $100 million in the rural area daCosta Cup and Ben Francis knockout.

This represents the first time that  both the Manning Cup and daCosta Cup competitions will operate under separate sponsorship.

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