Praise from across the globe as Seychellois-born football star Kevin Betsy takes key job at Arsenal
Congratulations have been pouring in from all over the world after Kevin Betsy took up a new job managing the Under 23-team at top London football club, Arsenal.
Seychellois-born Kevin, 43, had previously been Under-18s Head Coach for England.
He said: “It’s an honour and privilege to be joining Arsenal as Under-23s Head Coach.”
It certainly is – and a rich reward for the amount of time and dedication Kevin and his family have put into the sports.
Kevin’s father, Lewis Betsy, publisher of Seychelles Life and a former player himself, is in true football terms “over the moon” with his son’s success.
“We are so pleased and proud,” he said.
Football is in the Betsy blood. Lewis played for the Seychelles clubs Rovers and Rangers and also captained the national team in the 1970s.
His great footballing friend, Gerard Hoarau, gave Lewis a blue and white ball for Kevin when he was born.
Gerard told Lewis: “Make sure he becomes a footballer.”
Those words soon became a reality when the family were forced to move to England.
Kevin took up football from an early age and astounded people with his skills.
Lewis said: “Kevin was always kicking a ball about, or against a wall. People kept telling me how good he was.”
“When he was nine he joined the Cavaliers team in Bracknell, Berkshire, and scored 92 goals in his first year.”
Thirty-four years on Kevin is now aiming to ensure Arsenal players benefit from his skill and experience.
He said: “Arsenal is, of course, an iconic club in world football with such a rich history. This is also a club with a very strong current record of developing young football players for the highest level, but also placing an emphasis on producing well-rounded young people.
“I’ve had a tremendous five years working with the Football Association in vital roles across the England youth teams. During this time I’ve worked with many hugely talented young players and some amazing colleagues in a wide range of departments.”
Arsenal, is also known as the Gunners, and Academy Manager Per Mertesacker said they were “extremely delighted” to have recruited such a high profile candidate as Kevin.
He said of Kevin: “He has had very strong experiences through academy and youth football, and has a wealth of knowledge and ability.
“We are excited that Kevin will drive us to continue to deliver on our vision to develop and build ‘Strong Young Gunners’. Kevin has proved in his coaching career that he will be a colleague who can contribute strongly to our players’ development pathway by leading our Under-23s team, including our staff and players.”
Lewis has been overwhelmed with the reaction Kevin’s appointment has generated. He said: “We want to thank all the Seychellois people, and friends throughout the world, who have sent congratulatory messages to us.
“We offer a very big thank-you to them for their support.”
Kevin made more than 400 appearances in English league football, as well as representing Seychelles, during his 18 years as a player.
He gained promotion from each of the four league divisions during spells with clubs which included Barnsley, Bristol City, Oldham Athletic, Southend United, Woking and Wycombe Wanderers. Most notably, he was part of the Fulham side which won promotion from League One and the Championship, featuring in the Premier League in the early 2000s.
With Seychelles he took part in the 2011 Indian Ocean Island Games, scoring in the final against Mauritius, which finished 1–1. Kevin scored again in the resulting penalty shootout, which the Seychelles won 4–3.
In Seychelles, Kevin also founded a charity, the Kevin Betsy Foundation to help coach young players and supply football kit.
When he stepped down as a player he began his coaching career at the Fulham Academy, and spent the past five years working in key roles with England Youth teams across different age categories, eventually becoming England Under-18s Head Coach in September 2020.
Now even though Kevin has the Arsenal job, the Betsy family firmly believe there is more to come. “We are confident that he can go further in the football world,” said Lewis.