On Target
January 26, 2007

Time for some house cleaning

The best result that was needed to give this country’s football here a kick was attained when Vincy Heat failed to reach the semi final stage of the 2006 -2007 Digicel Cup.

Had the team done so, off they would have gone to the prestigious Gold Cup in June, with many thumping their chests of the strides the sport has made in recent times.{{more}}

The spin doctors though will still advance that technically SVG ended sixth in the eight team final.

But our early exit has given us time to reflect on the current state of football, a reflection with sober thinking would point to the direction of reformation and tough decisions taken.

Needed is a complete overhaul of our football set up. It is evident that some executive members of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation (SVGFF) are only concerned with the benefits derived from holding those administrative positions. Their open ridicule of fellow officers oblivious to bystanders, expose the personality wobble that exists.

Their departure will be welcomed. So too will be that of Technical Director Zoran Vranes. At the helm for the past two years and five months, Vranes’concentration has been the preparation of national teams for competitions.

He has failed to put a development plan for the sport, neither has he made efforts to integrally be involved at the grassroots level.

But again he can only operate if given the leverage by those who employ him.

Admittedly our players have some technical difficulties, but some of the tactics employed by Vranes are often incomprehensible.

His deficiencies were exposed in the second round in Barbados as well as in the final in Trinidad and Tobago recently, when faced with strategies by opponents was unable to think or act on his feet.

But did we expect the team to perform better given the manner football is run and the mitigating circumstances faced by the sport? A team with an average age of 30, with players training infrequently and only when there are overseas trips, can they seriously challenge our regional counterparts?

Let us not be fooled by some of our positive or even encouraging results as they have not been consistent enough for us to be on cloud nine.

Our hopes were deflated when we beat Jamaica September last, but at near full strength we lost to Barbados six weeks later.

Our football problems are deep rooted and cannot be fixed over night as we are left behind by others, as we depend solely on natural talent to see us through. The achievements of Jamaica, Cuba and Trinidad and Tobago are not any flight by night successes, but structured approaches towards development of football, far superior to the inkling we have here.

We must start at some point and the occasion presents itself at this juncture.

But first we must ask ourselves what does football mean to us. Is it a fun and recreation activity or a vehicle for national development? With the latter answered in the affirmative, then we are our way.

I am certain that the present administration with strong ties to Mexico, Venezuela and Cuba can on a government to government basis source the services of a coach in the interim before we can afford another technical director.

In tandem, executive committee of the SVGFF should be seeking opportunities for young footballers with the academics and who are receptive to coaching into the US college system.

Getting players into the semi pro league in Trinidad and Tobago or even that of Malaysia should form part of the process.

We have done a lot with our slender resources, but more can be done if more proactive thinking is engaged.