Rally behind Vincy Heat
On Target
February 28, 2020

Rally behind Vincy Heat

With just about one month, before St Vincent and the Grenadines senior men’s football team Vincy Heat face Guadeloupe in a home and away tie in the CONCACAF Nations League playoff, there seem not to be that much hype and exuberance.

Yes, Vincentians for the past year were used to the high octane stuff, as it relates to the senior national men’s team.

The “in your face” type of promotion began when this country hosted the Windward Islands Football Association (WIFA) tournament at the Victoria Park, just about a year ago.

Following the team’s success in that tournament, everything was like clock work, as a comeback victory over Bonaire here at the Arnos Vale Playing Field in the Nations League qualifiers, had set the tone.

A morale-boosting win over Trinidad and Tobago Soca Warriors in a friendly international.

Thereafter, Vincy Heat reeled off an unbeaten run in the Nations League’s competition, and had a moral.

However, at the last hurdle, Vincy Heat faltered against Dominica in Dominica, November 18, missing out on a direct ticket to the CONCACAF Gold Cup in the USA, in 2021.

That unexpected loss to Dominica would have shattered the aspirations of the players and management at that juncture; it would have immediately doused and deflated the upbeat mood of football fans here in St Vincent and the Grenadines and Vincentians who were following the progress of the team wherever they were stationed or resided.

There are many theories why the team lost, but that is mere conjecture, and it cannot be undone.

The best thing for all of us to acknowledge at this time, is that what is past is past and cannot be reversed.

Yes, up to November 18, Vincy Heat were just a win away from heading to the prestigious Gold Cup for the second occasion in this country’s football history.

But again, “the what-could have been” and the “so close and yet so far” belief have become realities and history as well.

So what is before us, and what are in the hands of the players and management specially, are the fixtures against Guadeloupe in Guadeloupe, March 26, with the reverse match set for here, March 31.

Whilst there seems not to be that elaborate build-up in terms of friendly internationals and the likes, work is going on behind the scenes for the Vincentian outfit to be competitive.

Unlike the WIFA tournament and the matches in the group stage of the Nations League, the core of the squad is not on island.

Most are in Antigua and Barbuda plying their trade as semi-professionals in that country’s premier league.

Coupled, the national club championships is in full gear, thus affecting the ability of the home-based players of putting in the necessary training and practice with the national coaching staff.

But despite these hiccups, one has to have confidence in the team’s head coach Kendale Mercury, who is a student of the sport, and who would have been plotting his strategies with the utmost precision to topple the Guadeloupeans.

Assured too, and equally critical in the whole scheme of things, is that the current executive is fully behind coach Mercury and his team of players.

Hence, this column is confident that there would be a ramp up of support coming from the persons who hold the purse strings of national football.

This column would be disappointed if one or two international friendlies are not secured ahead of Vincy Heat’s showdown with the french territory.

So, whilst everything may be slowing in being concocted, and may not appear as they ought to be, every stop certainly will be pulled out to maximise Vincy Heat’s chances at coming out victorious next month.

One too expects the Vincentian population to continue to show their unwavering support for the Kendale Mercury-coached Vincy Heat; a support that had brewed to fever pitch for the better part of a year.

Therefore, with Vincy Heat in their hour of need; when there is no second chance, and the support of fans and other well-wishers are paramount, now is the time for Vincentian to rally round the efforts of the players and their support staff.