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Malta Carib has thrown its support behind youth football, specifically the junior division that was designed as the “feeder” to the clubs of the Digicel Pro League.

The sponsorship of the Youth Pro League was launched yesterday afternoon at the Queen’s Park Oval, where representatives of both the Pro League and the well-known non- alcoholic beverage expressed the belief that it would be a “historic” partnership.

Before a small group of Youth League players and their coaches, Carib Sponsorship and Events Manager Colin Murray listed some of the brand’s better-known ambassadors such as football legend Dwight Yorke, entertainer Faye-Ann Lyons and presently cricketer Dwayne Bravo.

“We see this,” Murray said, “as the perfect opportunity to align Malta Carib with football, a sport which encourages the youth of TT to explore their full potential both on and off the field. We truly believe that the only way forward for sport in our beloved country is in the investment in the youth and the development process of the respected individuals involved in their care.”

Malta Carib Brand Ambassador Dwayne Bravo impressed upon the players the importance of discipline and respect for their teammates and coaches. Using himself as an example of sporting success, Bravo said that while he came from a humble family, he is now able to provide for them, through his success in sport. “Sport can change your life,” he said, “but you need to make sacrifices first.”

In recognising the importance of his organisation’s new partner, Pro League CEO Dexter Skeene listed the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid among the major clubs which have benefitted from youth programmes.

“Youths are an investment, not an expenditure,” he stated, adding that without properly-instituted youth development programmes, national teams would always struggle to survive in international competition. He added that approximately 70 percent of national Under- 17 and Under-19 players come through the Youth Pro League.

This year, the Youth League is divided into Under-13, Under-15 and Under-17 age groups. Competition kicked off earlier this week and ends in July.