On Target
March 18, 2016

This column continues to be vindicated in relation to its weekly commentary, which often makes reference to several happenings on the sporting landscape of St Vincent and the Grenadines, the wider Caribbean and beyond.

The latest is the unfolding of the state of our local football.{{more}}

Undoubtedly, football is the most popular sport in St Vincent and the Grenadines; it is the most viewed and with it comes the most scrutiny and controversy. When packaged, the sport provides its own intrigue.

Therefore, when our senior national team Vincy Heat took on Martinique last Sunday night at the Victoria Park, it exposed some of the many concerns that On Target has been expounding over the years.

Being beaten 4-0 by the Martiniquans is second to the performance or lack thereof by the Vincentians. Our team looked out of sorts, outwitted, unfit and, to put it generously, appeared only marginally better than the last placed team in the Premier Division of the current National Club Championships.

The visitors appeared to have toyed with the hosts, recognizing that they were not up to scratch for this level of exposure. It was equally shameful that not one shot was unleashed on the Martinique goal, which typified the Vincentians’ abysmal attempt to show their football skills to the home fans.

But Sunday’s revelations should not be a shock to those who follow the sport closely.

Immediately, those who saw the match will beat up on the players, coach and management of the Vincy Heat outfit.

To some extent, yes, they are due some criticisms, as on the field, they were clueless and deficient of any ability to tactically think on their fit, after recognizing their opponents’ style of play.

How many of our teams/clubs carry out structured training, prior and concurrent during the present competitions?

What is the role and responsibilities of our technical director in the scheme of things, especially with the ongoing National Club Champion-ships which are used to feed the national teams?

Are there technical analyses of the units which compete in the championships with a view to correct or consolidate, as the case may be?

The real issues, however, lie with how the sport is managed and the policies set by the executive, who, in this case, must be put under the microscope.

Our football administrators at the national level are too preoccupied with securing loyalty, while the various facets of the sport are left unattended.

The real meaning of the boastings, the braggadocios and the facade must have blown up in their faces last Sunday, as the product surely is not commensurate with the picture being painted.

Records would show that this column has preached more emphasis on youth development, rather than the constant procuring of technical courses, which turn out to be mere window dressings and administrative record keeping.

Now that it matters most and the mettle of the sport is being tested, we are found wanting.

But we are in it already and the best that can be done at this stage is to make the best of what is left, as St Vincent and the Grenadines is out of its league.

Getting to this, the semi

-final phase of the CONCACAF Zone of the World Cup qualifiers, is nothing new for St Vincent and the Grenadines, as it has been achieved before on five occasions.

However, data would have it as the worst on field performance, having arrived at this juncture.

A solitary 2-0 win versus Aruba here in the third round is the lone result in our favour. This goes along with 2-2 and 4-4 draws with Guyana in the second round, having gained a first round bye, and a 1-2 loss to Aruba in the reverse fixture.

A 6-1 defeat by the USA and a 4-0 downing by Guatemala have added to the Vincentians’ misery tale in this segment of the qualifiers.

As St Vincent and the Grenadines faces Trinidad and Tobago here next Friday (Good Friday), the local football and sporting public would be hard pressed to muster that courage to leave the comfort of their homes, given the showing of the team and the day itself, being a holy holiday.

But one should not punish the players, as they are not entirely responsible for the results.

It is just that they have been cultured into a system which has given them a false sense of comfort and self-imposed local stardom status.

So, despite the shortcoming and the pessimism, they are our ambassadors and the physical presence of as many Vincentians as possible would be very much welcomed.

That moral support is necessary, as they are already ill-prepared all round.