EARLIER THIS WEEK marked 25 years that our national men’s football team of 1995, placed second in the Shell Caribbean Cup. Whilst, this was not the first time that such a feat was accomplished, the fact that St Vincent and the Grenadines earned a place at the prestigious CONCACAF Gold Cup in the USA in 1996, set that team apart from others.
In context, that team thus far has been the only outfit that has seen St Vincent and the Grenadines to the Gold Cup.
However, little has been said of this team. In fact, not much fanfare or attention has been given to the players, coaching staff and management of the team that placed SVG among the elite in CONCACAF.
Yes, there have been fleeting mentions, but nothing has been sustained to the point that the team is given the recognition due to them.
This is against the contrast of the 1979 team, which has received multiple highlights, recognition, you name it. It is undeniable that the 1979 team made the Caribbean take notice of us. That team, granted the other circumstances of that year, had a positive psychological effect on the country.
However, the overkill is what makes the disparity so glaring.
It would seem to many, that St Vincent and the Grenadines’ football started and stopped during the 1979 and 1981 era. Of course not.
Whilst the 1979 team is forever being lauded for its input in relieving stress of Vincentians in time of discomfort and uncertainty, the 1995 team also achieved under trying circumstances.
Stories are endless about the travails that the team endured in preparing for the Shell Caribbean Cup in 1995, and their subsequent sojourn to the Gold Cup.
So, in the absence of any structured national awards, it is high time that the St Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation (SVGFF) see it fit to give honour and respect, where they are due.
Last year, at the opening of the Breakaway Masters football tournament, then president of the SVGFF Marvin Fraser, announced that the 1995/1996 team would have received honours similar to that of the 1979 squad.
Unfortunately, Fraser was not able to realise his wishes, as he was voted out of the post.
Therefore, it is incumbent on sitting president Carl Dickson, and his executive, to give the 1995/1996 national senior men’s football team what is duly theirs.
Next year, 2021, would be 25 years that St Vincent and the Grenadines appeared in the Gold Cup in the USA.
This occasion should not pass by and nothing is done to give that team the distinction that it deserves.
Not that this column is advocating that every sporting feat must be hailed and revered for eternity, but there is merit in the wishes for that team to get their national place and moment on the highlight reel of this country’s sporting history.
It is important for our national associations to develop a system to pay homage from time to time, when individuals and groups perform in sporting events, which are stand-outs.
The SVGFF is in a position to give acclamation to the members of the 1995/1996 team, as most are on island and are still making meaningful contributions to the sport, both at the community and national levels.
So as the SVGFF puts the programme in place, those players who made the trip to the Cayman Islands were Fitz-Gerald Bramble, Monty Butler, Dexter Walker, Dexter Browne, Andre Hinds, Kenlyn Gonsalves, Rohan Keizer, Kendal Velox, Marlon James, Marlon Huggins, Wesley Charles, Rodney Jack, Cornelius Huggins, Burton Forde, Wesley John, Tyrone Prince, Christopher Harry and Avandale Williams.
And representing St Vincent and the Grenadines to the Gold Cup, were Fitz-Gerald Bramble, Urtis Blackette, Verbin Sutherland, Dexter Walker, Keith Ollivierre, Ezra Hendrickson, Orande Ash, Andre Hinds, Kenlyn Gonsalves, Rohan Keizer, Kendal Velox, Everad Sam, Marlon James, Dexter Browne, Rodney Jack, Cornelius Huggins, Burton Forde, Wesley John, Tyrone Prince and Earl Alexander.
Not to be left out of the anticipated recognition, are the members who made the technical, management and medical teams, who too were equally significant contributors.