Gurley willing to take on the challenge
October 12, 2007

Gurley willing to take on the challenge

After being in the shadows as understudy to two foreign Technical Directors for the past four years, Vincentian Roger Gurley is willing to accept the challenge of coaching the national senior football team.{{more}}

Gurley told SEARCHLIGHT last Sunday that once the opportunity presents itself, he would gleefully accept it.

“ I don’t back down or shy away from challenges. Once it is put in my hand, I will go for it”, Gurley said.

Gurley’s wish, though, depends on the fancies of the Executive of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation, which often goes the way of non-Vincentians, especially at the world cup qualification.

In 1992, at this country’s first outing in world cup campaigning, Elliot “Moorie” Millington took the team past the first round, only to be sidelined by Brazilian Jorge Ramos.

Similarly, in 1996, Adolphus “Pabits” Davis had to make way for Trinidadian Bertille St. Clair. The trend continued in 2000 when Sammy Carrington was replaced by Jamaican -American Lenny Taylor.

Gurley was placed as the local head in October 2003, under the command of the English duo of Cess Podd and Aide Shaw.

With the full departure of the English entourage in October 2004, Gurley became second in command to Serbio and Montenegro born Zoran Vranes, from then to Vranes’ official end of his contract last month.

Gurley thinks that his experiences gained over the years can come to bear on his coaching, once given the chance to show off his wares.

He got a rare opportunity to lead last weekend as the Under -23 team took on the Grenadians in a two match friendly.

And he did what the highly paid Vranes failed to do last month in the Olympic Qualifiers.

With Vranes at the helm, St. Vincent and the Grenadines did not advance to the next round.

Grenada advanced instead, as the Vincentians could only come away with 3-3 draw against them, when faced with a must win situation.

But Gurley was able to marshall his young charges to a 2-1 win in the second match played at the Stubbs Playing Field last Saturday afternoon.

“I had a point to prove”, said a happy Gurley when he spoke to SEARCHLIGHT.

He referred to the tactical and positional changes that he made that he thumbed may have resulted in the triumph.

“I do things differently, and the players believed that they should have qualified ahead of the Grenadians, and we took on the challenge”, he contended.

He hinted that his knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of the players assisted in the positive result in the second match. The first match played at the Victoria Park on Friday night ended 1-1.

Accepting the norm that when teams win the coach gets praise, and when they lose, “they get the licks’, Gurley believes that the present crop of Under- 23 footballers can go places, once the right systems are instituted.

He referred to them as “good prospects”, and acknowledges an abundance of talent among them, but talent which must be carefully and methodically harnessed.

The Under-23 squad is expected to form the core of this country’s world cup qualifiers which begin early in 2008.

But Gurley is not pleased with the last minute approach in preparing national teams for major competitions.

He thinks, too, that the one and a half hour of practice time for national teams is insufficient to have any meaningful impression on the preparations. (RT)