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Although English-based professional footballer Stern John now plays for Coventry, his former club Birmingham is still committed to helping with the Stern John Skills Award Programme.

As a result, president of the Secondary Schools Football League, Ewing Davis, left over the weekend for the English Premiership club to visit the academy and to establish relationship with the manager, Stewart John Hall, regarding development opportunities for some of T&T’s secondary school coaches and college players.

Birmingham will also continue giving assistance towards the hosting of football camps for players from the age of eight to 17 years, as well as for the training of coaches and recruitment of T&T players for its academy.

In the second year of the programme last season, Birmingham invited the technical director and coaches of the Stern John Skills Award Programme to visit its academy.

T&T coach Muhammad Isa took advantage of the offer and spent a week at the club, working with those responsible for the coaching of players ages eight to 17 years.

He also watched international play involving Under-16s and Under-17s.

The exposure gave Isa an opportunity to enhance his football knowledge, as well as to gain first-hand experience of new strategies and tactics involved in the game at an international level, and to study the operations of the academy.
Also benefitting from the programme was another T&T coach, Dion La Foucade, who was a guest of the club and worked with the manager of the academy, Stewart John Hall.

In August, Stefan De Las, an Under-17 national player, was invited by the manager of the academy for a two-week stint.

“This proved to be successful and further participation at this level is presently being persued,“ said chairperson Mary Siu Butt.

“This certainly augurs well for the Stern John programme and for many young footballers, whose aspirations are to play football internationally.”

The second year of the programme started in November and concludes on March 19.

A total of 900 children from primary schools throughout T&T are participating in the five-month programme, which is focussing on the development of football skills.

The regional play-offs will commence from March 4 throughout the country, ending with the national play-offs on March 19 at Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port-of-Spain.

Last year’s winner was Holy Trinity Anglican School of Moruga.

Sponsors associated with the programme are Mario’s Pizzeria, IBM, RBTT Bank, Blue Waters, Caribbean Development Company (Smalta), Ventrin Petroleum, Sports Outlet, National Petroleum, Liat, Kam’s Travel, Odyssey Consultinc, Media Sales, Double AA Electronic and the City of PoS Credit Union.