On Target
June 3, 2022
Vincy Heat under pressure to deliver

It is no gainsaying that St Vincent and the Grenadines’ senior male football team, Vincy Heat is not in the best place to take on Bahamas, Nicaragua and Trinidad and Tobago.

The Vincentians go into today’s first match ( June 3) versus the Bahamas in the Bahamas, before making a quick turn -around to host Nicaragua here on Monday, June 6.

Then next Friday, June 10, the Arnos Vale venue will welcome Trinidad and Tobago, and three days later play the reverse fixture against the Trinidadians at the Haseley Crawford Stadium.

Essentially, our senior male footballers are required to play four matches in ten days. More importantly, they are expected to compete at their highest level, and obviously produce the results necessary to position themselves as contenders in the group.

To put the group into perspective, Vincy Heat starts in third position behind Trinidad and Tobago and Nicaragua. Given the football pedigree and history, they are still ranked above the Bahamas.

With that being the case, the many debilitating factors which have been working against the Vincentian outfit exacerbates the chances.

Among them are the many off the field issues which have, unfortunately filtered into the psyche of the players. Seemingly, crises have become the norm whenever this men’s team is on the verge of competing in a major regional tournament.

Of note too, has been the defeats against Dominica last month in two friendly internationals . The losses again raised concerns about the team’s prospects in the Nations League.

Significantly too, the team’s performance was dissected by the general public who were in general unkind to the players.

Added to the mix was the covid attack that affected the team both here and in Dominica, that definitely adversely affected preparations and robbed the team of vital tactical fine tuning leading up to the four matches in this June window.

All told, the Vincentians are up against it as they seek to deliver, and do so with some aplomb and confidence.

Contextually, expectations are high from the Vincentian public, granted the team’s showing in the Nations League in 2019. Then, St Vincent and the Grenadines was in pole position to gain an automatic berth to the Gold Cup, only to lose to Dominica in the last match.

A second chance though, came the Vincentians’ way to gain a place in the Gold Cup, but that was thwarted by Haiti.

Therefore, given the 2019 showing which to many was unexpected, no one will take St Vincent and the Grenadines lightly any more. Hence, such mounting demands, coupled with the inadequate preparations, put the team under greater scrutiny.

Quickly and instinctively, should the results go south for the Vincentians, the debates, the fault finding, and most obviously, head coach, Kendale Mercury, along with president of the SVGFF, Carl Dickson and to a lesser extent, director of Technical Matters, Theon Gordon will be the targets for the verbal abuse.

Yes, we are result-oriented and understandably so. But all round, the position of St Vincent and the Grenadines’ football in general at this juncture relative to others , shows a downward trajectory.

That is just the stark reality and as expected, our senior men’s team is the bench mark, the barometer, the acid test of any football development that takes place here.
Thus, the next four matches by Vincy Heat would provide the examiners, the scrutineers, as well as the technical people within the ranks of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation with the litmus paper to assess our football.

Should the results go in St Vincent and the Grenadines’ favour, or they are able to eke out draws, then the narrative would change and the glow and the glitter would illuminate brightly with iridescence.

What would worth most, is that national support for the footballers, both in their away matches and those at home.

That twelfth man morale energy off the pitch means millions for those who have been chosen to represent St Vincent and the Grenadines in the next ten days of Concacaf Nations League Football.