On Target
May 7, 2010
Make it a true Masters Competition

The National Lotteries Authority SVG Over 35’s Football Competition is set to conclude this Sunday at the Victoria Park.

Yes, the competition will finish, there will be a winner as well as the prizes and trophies, and many will walk away anxiously awaiting the start of next year’s competition.{{more}}

Without a doubt, this year’s competition held the interest of die hard Football lovers and family members of the players. There was the usual bantering among the players, and this augurs well for humanity.

A few of the teams held regular practice sessions. Additionally, the organizers were able to have a cadre of match officials, thus ensuring that things ran smoothly in the middle of the park.

But have the general objectives of the competition been really and truly realised?

It is my hope that with some teams having a minimum of six matches that several of the players would have attained some acceptable level of fitness.

But having attended some of the matches, I will say that in the area of showing how the game was played in the past, this was surely not quite achieved.

Certainly, the matches did not attract the youngsters and current crop of active club and team footballers as was the organisers’ intention.

Additionally, from my vantage point, the matches were too competitive.

Any casual onlooker entering the Victoria Park would on observation not have recognized it was a masters competition, with the sometimes hard tackles by some players and their interaction with match officials when decisions did not go their way.

I thought they should have been the teachers of the art of accepting and respecting those charged with the responsibility of officiating the matches.

But again, I guess this stemmed from the desire to win over the objective of getting fit, having fun and passing time.

This may just be the reason why fewer of the real stars of the past were motivated to take part in the competition.

With the passage of time, many have all drifted away from the competition, leaving it with the bare fringe players of the past to rekindle any sort of interest in Masters Football.

To strengthen my argument, the top goal scorers this year were those who made use of the provisions of the competition’s allowance of three players, who are past 35 years, but yet not 40 years.

Undoubtedly, those fresh legs have acquired stardom among the older tired ones. These young ones rarely leave the field of play, hence are the hubs on which their teams revolve, again compounding the over emphasis on the competition aspect of the matches.

It is my hope that in future competitions, one would see more “older” past players recalled to the game.

The SVG Over 35’s Masters Organisation has a good product that is marketable, but one that should be given careful thought among the jostling for the limited sporting public’s time and money.

Firstly, I think it should be 40 years and over, and that’s it!

Therefore, the competition should be made a family affair, where groupings should be encouraged to attend the matches, with specific attractions, especially catering for the young ones.

Whilst appreciative of the present day generation of Masters Football, maybe some enterprising person or organization can set up a short two week Masters competition involving the real past players of Avenues, Roseans, Sion Hill, Pastures, among them, to really showcase past players as well as bridge that gap in time.

To the organizers of Masters Football, keep it going, as it has a place in the Football and sporting landscape of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

But this column is still calling for the complete removal of the “Mound” at the Sion Hill Playing Field.

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