December 15, 2006
Vranes: No problem with pro players

If it were possible, when Vincy Heat take the field at next year’s finals of Digicel Football Cup in Trinidad and Tobago, there will only be professional players in the line up, as some of the locally based players’ attitude is giving Technical Director Zoran Vranes a headache.

“I have no problems with pro guys, (but) if (the) local guys respond the same way; we will play very good, their manners and behaviour need to improve”, Vranes said forcefully.{{more}}

But he has to make do as there are only about eight pros at his disposal. This has caused Vranes to go in search of every eligible Vincentian footballer to get the job done.

“There are some guys who are better than we have presently in the team,” Vranes admitted.

He is hopeful that those summoned will attend training. The secretariat of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation was busy last week inviting players to make themselves available for the Trinidad and Tobago trip.

Among those contacted were veteran strikers Alwyn Guy and Curtis Joseph. Both were part of this country’s World Cup team back in 1992.

And it has not been encouraging for Vranes and his technical staff, as attendance at practice last week had dwindled to as low as four persons.

The poor attitude by some of the players may have caused this country’s under par performance in the second round in Barbados recently, and its eventual second place, behind the host.

Vranes said that the night before the Barbados encounter there were “internal problems and very bad things in camp”.

Pressed into detailing the events, the Serbia Montenegro born coach chose to let due process take its course.

However, investigations made by SEARCHLIGHT revealed that some players broke the curfew set by the team’s management on the night in question.

Furthermore, television footage during Vincy Heat’s matches versus Barbados and Bahamas showed Andrew Douglas openly remonstrating with the management team after being substituted in the first half.

And with the top eight countries in the region being on display, Vranes is calling for a quick turn about in the players’ outlook towards the sport, coupled with national support to help in the team’s cause.

“We need (that) support from everyone; football is big business”, he charged.

“We need friendlies; we cannot prepare without a camp’, Vranes advanced.

The technical director pointed to the “half ready” state of the team going into last month’s second round in Barbados.

He planned though that with support structures in place, he will redouble his efforts ahead of the finals.

“I need to work five days weekly but this cannot happen without a field to practice”, Vranes said.

With the finals shifted from the original date of January 31 to February 11 to January 12 to 23, Vranes has his work cut out as he has just four weeks to conjure up the best formula. The 55 year old Vranes must find a formidable combination to meet the ever improving Guyana January 14. The Guyanese are the team that won all their matches in the two rounds leading up to the finals.

Vincy Heat play the region’s top team Cuba, January 16 and round off the preliminary round against Guadeloupe January 18.

The other group pits automatic qualifiers host Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Martinique and the winner of the play off among the three third place teams from the second round, Haiti, Bermuda and the Dominican Republic.

The first and second place teams then enter the semi final elimination phase.

A big pay out of US$120 000 is awaiting the team that emerges winner in the finals. The second place earns $ 70 000, third place $50 000 and fourth place $30 000. All four top finishers will qualify for the CONCACAF Gold Cup to be held in the USA in June next year.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines participated in the Gold Cup in 1996 after ending second to Trinidad and Tobago in the 1995 regional final.