On Target
September 23, 2011
Vote with your Football conscience

Affiliates of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation have a major decision to make tomorrow, at the local body’s Annual General Meeting, when they sit to elect a new Executive to administrate the affairs of the most popular sport in the land.{{more}}

This popularity has been manifested by the extensive promotion that the election has generated in the media.

Tomorrow’s election is crucial, as at this point, the sport here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is at a cross roads, and no quick fix will solve the issues confronting the growth of the sport.

The game, like other sporting disciplines, over the past two decades has taken on a commercial face, thereby attracting greater interest.

Football today is a big money earner; it is a poor people’s sport, which can make one rich.

Unfortunately, St. Vincent and the Grenadines has not capitalized on this aspect, except for the few players who have gained professional contracts.

So we have found ourselves just merely holding on to the recreational value of the sport, but this is enough to make it the game of the people.

The much revered 1979 national team is a testimony of what Football has done to the psyche of Vincentians, as these players have become household names and are national treasures.

It was only two years ago that the Under-20 team was able to rally this country into a frenzy, never seen before with an aged group team.

The core of that team is the present crop of senior players involved in the World Cup qualifiers.

Therefore, the importance of getting the right persons in positions to work in the interest of the sport and not themselves is paramount when the affiliates sit to cast their votes for the respective candidates whose names are on the ballot papers.

Football is in a more privileged status than other sports practised here. For the past thirteen years, local Football has been the beneficiary of a direct pipeline of funds, through FIFA’s Football Assistance Programme (FAP).

Additionally, FIFA continues to inject monies into refereeing, Youth Development, Grassroots Programme, Goal Projects, just to name a few, so Football has some economic certainty and cushion on which to sit.

Additionally, the secretariat of the SVGFF is fully staffed, and equipped with modern technology.

Therefore, the platform has been laid for efficiency and professionalism, which when results are not commensurate with expectations, attract turned eyes and adverse comments.

However, such scrutiny and forensic evaluation surface only when the term of officers ends, and a new batch is set to be enrolled.

This may partly explain why Football administration seems to be where it should not be, as it is common for affiliates to throw every iota of reasoning out the window, and let friendship and other unwanted factors dictate their decisions.

Getting past this type of voting may be a thing of the past, as this column is satisfied that the three main persons vying for the presidency, Messrs Venold Coombs, Patrick Horne and Michael John have acquitted themselves with some professionalism in selling their programmes to the affiliates.

One must admit to some degree of comfort that the various slates/teams did their groundwork in presenting themselves as worthy candidates for election.

There was, of course, some mud- slinging and shots fired below the belt, which at all times must be condemned, if we are to raise the bar of Football administration and send that vicarious message to the footballers who are yearning for good guidance and governance.

Those affiliates with the privilege of voting are not only needed for tomorrow’s election but must be visible, vocal and, at times, vociferous for the next 48 months, ensuring that the sport is taken to its potential height.

In making that decision, affiliates, vote with your Football conscience, nothing else.

To the candidates offering themselves for national service, if you are not elected, you still have a contribution to make as you all strive to use Football as a conduit for national development.

All the best to all concerned.