Pour in the wine and the oil
On Target
August 11, 2023

Pour in the wine and the oil

As the sport of Football continues to grapple with negative publicity as it relates to violence at matches, whether it is at the national or community levels, one cannot turn a blind eye to the happenings.

Yes, violence is inevitable and while there is and never will be any quick fix, efforts must be made to soften the blows and undesirable accrued effects.

Hence, it is opportune for the Executive of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation to lead the charge and go beyond their administrative mandate.

The time is fast approaching for those charged with the responsibilities of ensuring that the sport is played at all levels and genders, to balance the books, adhere to FIFA and Concacaf’s statutes and the like, for them to add that social component to their roles.

Whilst the distress call is yet to be sounded, there are sufficient indicators, if help is not sought and those safety nets are not installed, the cracks will open wider and many will fall through.

Why then should the elected members of the SVGFF take the lead in implementing outreach programmes for footballers (both male and female)?

Firstly, there is available funding from the sport’s governing body – FIFA, for these types of interventions.

Secondly, Football clubs and teams have taken up the mantle since the near extinction of the organisations that buffered parenting and indirect rearing of young persons in various communities across St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Significantly too, Football is the most popular sport played here in St Vincent and the Grenadines. Coupled, it is played mainly among persons from the lower tiers of the socio-economic set up.

Whilst this column is not suggesting that such persons are more vulnerable and susceptible to deviance, statistics favour their culpability.

Such at risks youths, therefore are to be handled with care, as their mental fragility provides that ready done spark for sanity and poise to take a vacation.

Like other Vincentian youths, many of our young footballers are bleeding despondency, and are on the “Road to Jericho”.

They are sometimes the victims of broken homes, neglectful parent(s), lack of supportive community leaders, among other factors.

It is then incumbent on the policy makers of the SVGFF, to become the Good Samaritans, and lead them down the Road to Damascus.

Any means that will offer hope and an alternative away from deviance, must be anchored in love for humanity and the future of St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Therefore, adding some other ingredients can only augur well for a better tasting product, when mechanisms are put in place.

We have come to know and accept that Sport in general, plays a significant part in keeping societal order, engenders discipline, promotes camaraderie among other aspects of cohesion among people.

Using the channels and virtues that are embedded in sports, are plausible and worthwhile to combat violence and other nefarious activities.

Engaging our young sportsmen and women in competitions, championships and tournaments, do suffice many aspects of their existence, but often times, that critical psycho– social support is missing.

Here again, Football has to be the model as it reaches the masses and by its mere nature of being a contact and team sport, can connect with the set objectives of bonding and brotherly love.

Additionally, efforts must be made to have psychologists and counsellors assigned to the Football clubs under the aegis of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation.

Not guaranteed success overnight, but getting the process started, offers that conduit to get into the heads and minds of the young people.

Sitting idly by and waiting until things go from bad to worse should not be our thinking. The sign posts are being erected; the warnings and bulletins are emerging, thus, putting up the shutters to ride out that imminent social storm is compulsory.

A fresh approach by pouring in the oil and the wine into the vessels that need them most, is the best atonement at this crossroads.