In almost every case players do not take the time to practice their game with a view to achieving excellence. We knew of Pete Morris being a fine example of a player who would spend hours practising his skills. Since he retired from the national squad the one players who has worked so deliberately on developing his skills in the game is Marlon ‘Thirsty’ James of Bequia and for this he has been able to move from one professional club to another, always distinguishing himself. This is therefore the exception rather than the norm.
Coaches must recognise that they have a responsibility to motivate the players to engage themselves in the tireless pursuit of football excellence, even as the coaches themselves pursue the same goal.
Our coaches can do much more for our footballers and can assist schools in the preparation of programmes for young footballers, identify talented players and invite them to work consistently on their skills.
The establishment of the Football Academy is a good initiative that must be sustained if the sport is to move forward.
St Vincent and the Grenadines must work on improving its sporting facilities, generally. Football needs a home and an arena where it can host major national, regional and international competitions unhindered. This means that the national stadium should be a priority.
Given the achievements of our footballers utilising the very poor facilities availa
ble to them one is at a loss to understand how successive political administrations could not have worked with the Federation to develop a national stadium. It remains a travesty of justice that to date no government has provided the much-needed national stadium.
The Sharpes Playing Field was to be the recipient of significant upgrade under every political representative, including the seemingly inimitable Parnel Campbell. The field is still in an abysmal state and no doubt the government would continue to insist that it is a priority for upgrade yet again.
The Grammar School Playing Field is the venue for Agricultural Exhibitions and therefore one can understand that it will forever be a sort of potato bank type of facility that does more damage to the athletes’ physical well-being than anything else.
The Cane End Playing Field is the nation’s Dust Bowl and remains one of our small contributions to the Wonders of the World.
God alone seems to know what was the real intention in declaring Calvary a playing Field since the authorities do not have a clue.
The fact is that our footballers are lucky that their immense talents have allowed them to survive and give good account in regional competitions despite the limitations imposed by very poor facilities.
Good footballers everywhere are now blessed with more opportunities to move ahead into lucrative professional contracts.
In the case of St Vincent and the Grenadines Rodney ‘Chang’ Jack opened the door. We have had others who have gone to Europe and the USA. Some went to Malaysia. The opportunities are there.
The time has come for our Football Federation and coaches to sit with talented players and engage in a systematic strategy to prepare successive cadres of athletes for professional careers. These things do not happen by chance. They must be planned.
There are opportunities for our youths to allow their football talent to take them to higher levels in the game and we must do our best to encourage them to focus on the bigger picture. This approach can only rebound to the overall benefit of Vincentian society.