We have a sport to build
The recent showing of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Senior Men’s Football Team, Vincy Heat has evoked much discussion as to the state of this country’s football. And, there is nothing better to adjudicate than results.
From the team’s four matches in Group B of League C of the Concacaf Nations League played June 3, 6, 10 and 13, the Vincentians have been able to muster a single point.
A 1-1 draw versus Nicaragua on June 6 here at the Arnos Vale Playing Field was the lone occasion to shout about and muster any hope.
In between, Vincy Heat suffered a one- nil defeat to The Bahamas, along with 2-0 and 4-1 losses to Trinidad and Tobago.
Thus, St Vincent and the Grenadines is rooted to the bottom of the group, with the return home leg against Bahamas and the away fixture versus Nicaragua, both slated for next March.
Getting a positive result from the Bahamians here on home soil is the best bet, as the Vincentians will undoubtedly be looking to stave off relegation to League C.
But what the results of the Nations league matches have pointed to is the status of St Vincent and the Grenadines’ football.
Evidently, many of the vagaries and deficiencies of our football were glaringly and cruelly exposed.
This is not to say that they are new; however, it pointed to the lack of growth in our football, since St Vincent and the Grenadines was able to end as runner up of their group in the inaugural Nations League in 2018/2019.
It is no gainsaying that the success of a country’s senior men’s team is the gauge of all development programmes that are rolled out by the respective Football Associations and Federations.
Indeed, this is so, hence the hue and cry, bashing and criticisms that emerged when the acid test was put to the team for the two weeks.
The state of St Vincent and the Grenadines’ football did not begin with the poor results in the Nations League, but the culmination of a series of events.
This column though had sounded a warning in a previous exposition, leading up to the first match against The Bahamas on June 3, not to expect Vincy Heat to light up the group.
The caution has come to fruition, leaving many to point fingers and ask questions of many persons involved in the sport.
Let truth be told, fixing St Vincent and the Grenadines’ football will not be an overnight phenomenon, as there is a multiplicity of debilitating issues confronting the growth and development of the sport.
Yes, football is all about results, therefore the measuring rods will come out every time there are adverse outcomes.
To begin to rectify our football, there has to be a cultural shift in the manner in which things are done in St Vincent and the Grenadines, generally.
Our laid -back ways of operation would only work to some extent, but when it comes to competitive sport, it is a different ball game.
Moreover, there has to be an overhaul of the way football is structured and administered.
But are we prepared to “suck salt”, as it were, take some poundings from others, before we can see the light at the proverbial tunnel, which at this juncture looks dark and gloomy?
Hence, it will require tough decisions, change of personnel, among other adjustments before corners are turned.
Critically though, do we really have that desire to make football the pride and joy among the sporting disciplines practised here St Vincent and the Grenadines?
If so, then persons of like mind, with a love and passion for success have to be the forerunners and change makers, otherwise we should resign ourselves to play football solely for recreational purposes.
It is equally pertinent that our desires are commensurate with a willingness to invest and have clear, unambiguous objectives for football.
We cannot have champagne tastes, but are contented to have mauby pockets.
Certainly, the Nations League matches are instructive as the detour signs have been posted; it is for the drivers to bring out their administrative compasses and steer football in a different direction.