On Target
November 26, 2010
Find a way soon

The stake holders of Football here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines must find a rescue mission to stop the slide in our fortunes as a football nation.

But are we a football nation or a nation that plays football?{{more}}

If the sport impacts, then there is a need for an in depth analysis of the state of football here.

I am not being reactionary to the recent results of our national teams: the Male Under-17, Under-20 and the Senior teams, but the general poor returns on the field of play is a cause for concern.

Doom looms as never in recent times have we excelled in at least one of the national representations.

There has not been much to shout about at the age group competitions, but the pride and joy has always been our senior composition.

It must be concluded that this country has been able to hold its own against the who’s who in regional football in the last 30 years and more.

It was St. Vincent and the Grenadines that lost to the mighty Mexico 0-1 here back in 2004, then went on to beat Trinidad and Tobago 1-0 here in 2005, and gave Jamaica a 2-1 beating the year after.

Before that we were competitive with the others such as Cuba and Haiti.

However, today, we have become almost a spent force in the Caribbean, as the other islands that were once our minnows have sped past us, with us still in the starting blocks.

Before, St. Vincent and the Grenadines was required to give the others in the region a good run in their preparations for international competitions.

Now, we can barely attract the attention of those who are on par with us.

There is almost no one on the international scene carrying the torch that footballers of quality exist on this rock called St. Vincent and the Grenadines. This cupboard has become bare all at once.

Besides, our national competitions are in tatters, our teams/clubs are failing to get themselves properly constituted, and sadly, there has been the ill discipline bug that is plaguing the national teams at all levels.

But each downfall is a factor interlocking in the entire puzzle that must be unravelled.

And, reports say what is being served up at the Inter Secondary Schools Competition further compounds the poor state of football here.

So, as it stands, our football, as previously advanced by this column, is at the crossroads.

Therefore, the time for action is now.

It is pointless there are colourful plans and fanciful ideas, but if they are not put in place, they will remain simply paper policies.

Therefore, the Executive of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation must at this point fast track its Grassroots Programme, its Win with CONCACAF In CONCACAF and its Youth Development island wide initiative.

The Grassroots Football programme as outlined by the SVGFF targets boys and girls 6 to 12 years old through school, community and club. The programme advocates exchanges and sharing human values and practising the sport within our school and club framework.

It is evident that what is coming out at the end of the assembly line, as portrayed by the current crop of a young senior team, are players with some abilities, but lacking that overall understanding of the game, match analysis and the mental capacity to make the right decisions at the right time.

Also, our football needs to get back to the fundamental skills.

It is common knowledge that fundamentals are the most important part of the game of football. Without them, a player does not have the tools necessary to become an efficient member of a team.

This important aspect was exposed last Friday night at the Victoria Park when our Under-20 deficiencies were laid out for all to see, and exploited by their Trinidad and Tobago counterparts.

However, in saying all this, we have to start all over to love football, and certainly our footballers of today love to play the game, but are not lovers of football.

The road towards rescuing our football is not paved with instant gratification, but replete with pot holes and bumps that can only be overcome with a relentless passion for success and with the right personnel with like minds.

Many are of like minds to have the mound at the Sion Hill Playing Field completely removed.