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Work set to start on Clyde Best Centre

Work will begin later this month on the Clyde Best Centre of Excellence in Prospect in honour of Bermuda’s most successful footballer.

Bermuda Football Association, Government and FIFA officials yesterday stood on the site adjacent to the BFA Field where the two-storey building, expected to be completed in 10 months, will house BFA offices on the upper level and changing rooms, a physio room, gym and bathrooms on the lower level. The construction on the near 4,000 square foot building will commence at the end of May.

“It’s been a long time coming and today is a fantastic day for us because we’re going to honour Mr Clyde Best and the reason we are here today is because we are going to have what will be our start of construction event — some people might call it a ground breaking event,” said BFA President Larry Mussenden.

The building is becoming a reality because of land donated by Government to build the technical centre and a generous donation by FIFA to help fund the construction of the building.

“We are extremely grateful to Bermuda Government for all they have done to provide the land to us,” said Mussenden. “The next group that we have to thanks is our worldwide governing body of football, FIFA, and they have present today the FIFA development officer (Angenie KKanhai, for the north Caribbean region) as well as people from other departments of FIFA (Anton Corneal, Technical consultant; Flavia Lopez, manager of FIFA development department and Claude Hollenstein, FIFA marketing consultant) who are here this week working with us on another matter.

“FIFA gave to the Bermuda Football Association and people of Bermuda $1.5 million a few years ago to develop the field and for the building that’s going to go here, FIFA have given us over the period of two or three phases $1.3 million to erect the two-storey building.”

Sports Minister Wayne Scott praised the construction of the building which will honour a Bermuda legend. “I’m delighted to be associated with this ground breaking ceremony,” he said. “The BFA’s dream of having its own facility is finally coming to fruition and in the process a Bermuda football icon will be indelibly memorialised as the BFA’s Academy of Excellence will be named after Clyde Best.

“What a great honour to a man who had eradicated the race barrier and was one of the first people of colour to play in the English First Division, now known as the Premier League. Not to be outdone, FIFA is to be congratulated for providing the funds to build the facility.”

Former Sports Minister and Speaker of the House Randy Horton, an ex teammate of Best during his early years at Somerset Trojans, said the former striker is deserving on the honour.

“I remember coaching him before I even played with him and he struck the ball better than anybody I’ve known,” recalled Horton.

“At the time he came along, more importantly he paved the way for black players in Europe. I go to Europe now and you mention Clyde Best’s name and everybody knows him. Little black boys in England, especially, wanted to be like Clyde Best.

“I remember I went to a game, Fulham and West Ham, and was sitting next to a young guy and when he found out I was from Bermuda he said ’oh, Clyde Best’. People like Cyrille Regis and John Barnes will tell you the impact that Clyde had on them.”

The man himself described the gesture as very touching. “I would like to thank the BFA along with FIFA because without them all of this would not be possible,” said Best, who also thanked Horton for aiding his early development as a footballer.

“It was because of the FIFA game of football that I was able to achieve what I did. My mom and dad are not here no more but if you are up there looking I know you would be proud. This is something I will remember for the rest of my life.”

(Photo by Akil Simmons) Clyde Best,after whom the BFA Centre of Excellence will be named. In the background is Randy Horton, Best's former Somerset Trojans teammate.

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Published May 02, 2013 at 10:15 pm (Updated May 02, 2013 at 10:14 pm)

Work set to start on Clyde Best Centre

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