Too close for comfort
On Target
November 24, 2023
Too close for comfort

The pride and joy, the benchmark, the flag ship of St Vincent and the Grenadines’ Football, the senior men’s team – christened some years ago as Vincy Heat, has ended its 2022/2023 campaign in the Concacaf Nations League (CNL).

And, they did so on a high last Tuesday, November 21, with a 3-0 win over Belize, at the Kirani Athletics Stadium in Grenada.

In context, it was more than a win, as the much needed three points lifted the Vincentian team from last place in Group C of League B, to an eventual second or runner up spot.

Effectively, the win versus Belize avoided a relegation to League C for the Vincentian outfit.

Vincy Heat was placed in that precarious and nervy situation after three consecutive losses, two to French Guiana and one to Bermuda. These successive losses followed a promising start, as the Vincentians had wins versus Belize and Bermuda, in their opening matches during the September window.

But it was too close a call for the Vincentians heading into Tuesday’s “home” fixture versus Belize.

Fortunately, the team got the job done and stays high and dry in League B.

The team was spared the blushes of relegation, when a late decision by Concacaf not to enforce demotion in the 2022/2023 edition of the CNL. This, after the team ended last in Group C, behind

Nicaragua, Trinidad and Tobago and the Bahamas.

So, it has happened again, and St Vincent and the Grenadines got off by the skin of its teeth.

One may reason that with their backs against the wall, the players and technical staff did enough to stave off defeat.

A reflection on the Vincentians’ sojourn would obviously conclude inconsistency on the part of the

Vincentian outfit, as three wins and three losses, readily points to average performance and returns.

Hopefully, the technical department of the SVGFF would take the final results for what they are worth and not accept a runner up place as a major accomplishment.

Analysis would show that inconsistency was one of the drawbacks of the team’s efforts.

Furthermore, there were other technical and tactical deficiencies’ that came to the fore, that have to be sorted by the Director of Technical Matters – Theon Gordon and his core of coaches that make up his staff.

But as we dissect the team’s journey in the CNL, the Vincentian team was in an unusual position as Gordon, apart from this substantive position, had a hands-on approach with the team.

In fact, he was the team’s interim head coach. This type of arrangement was not the best nor ideal in the circumstances.

However, with the CNL out of the way, the powers that be have to come to grips with the realities

of our Football, as we seem not to be making true and lasting impressions on the various regional and international showings, especially with our senior men’s team.

Critically, efforts must be injected into the youth programmes, as the products that emerge at the senior levels are reflective of what is not taking place at the lower tiers of our Football.

A properly structured Youth Development Programme has always been touted by various executives of the SVGFF, yet it has only been sweet sounding music to the ears.

No president, no Technical Director, no Executive has had the political will to see the talk move from rhetoric to fruition.

We continue to spin our tops in mud, prepare a few months prior to regional or international tournaments, go through the trappings, participate, then reflect on the results.

It all stops at the conclusion of the tournaments, then the cycle goes into effect, when duties call again.

This column continues to harp that our Football ought to be better than where it is at this juncture, given the many sparks and potential that were shown in the 1980s, up until the mid-2000s.

Failure to build on these potentialities have left us often scrambling to put national teams together, as there is no data base on players.

We however have perfected this type of operation that anything better may become foreign to our psyche.

Anyway, it is either we take the development pathway or just be contended with Football for recreation and not as a means of national development and people progress.