Former SVG football coach embraces FIFA’s World Cup expansion
January 13, 2017
Former SVG football coach embraces FIFA’s World Cup expansion

Sammy Carrington, a former head coach of the senior St Vincent and the Grenadines football team, has embraced the decision by football’s world governing body, FIFA, to expand the number of teams at the World Cup to 40.

This, when put in place, will be an increase of eight teams, and Carrington said that it is a good move for places like St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), even though the other qualifying slots are yet to be determined among the confederations.

Carrington in his analysis told SEARCHLIGHT, “It gives chances to teams that otherwise would start qualifiers knowing they had no chance of getting to the World Cup… It gives each country renewed passion for football… There is no other tournament like the World Cup.”

Under the current allocation, Africa is afforded 5 places, Asia – 4.5, Europe – 13, North America, Central America and the Caribbean – 3.5, Oceania- 0.5, South America – 4.5 and the host nation, the other place.

With the increased participation, Carrington thinks that the CONCACAF region would benefit from the increased revenue sharing.

According to FIFA’s research, revenue is predicted to increase to £5.29 billion for a 48-team tournament, giving a potential profit rise of £521 million.

In the new proposal by FIFA, an initial stage of 16 groups of three teams will precede a knockout stage for the remaining 32, when the change is made for the 2026 tournament.

The sport’s world governing body voted unanimously in favour of the change at a meeting in Zurich on Tuesday.

The number of tournament matches will rise to 80, from 64, but the eventual winners will still play only seven games.

The tournament will be completed within 32 days – a measure to appease powerful European clubs, who objected to reform because of a crowded international schedule. The changes mark the first World Cup expansion since 1998. Carrington therefore proposed that SVG, despite its lack of resources, can begin to make the best of what possibly lies ahead with the expansion.

“Our preparation should start immediately… It’s going to be the easiest pathway to the World Cup…Remember we have never assembled or identified a group of young players from 15 to 19 years old and train them over a period of time… This is the time to do it,” the former SVG head football coach proffered.

“I suggest we identify 50 of the best youth players from around the country and start this training programme…. We can’t sit still and start two months before such an important tournament like we always do… We have failed miserably in the last U-15, U-17 even U-20 tournaments… We have to change our preparations now… It’s our biggest downfall,” Carrington commented.

St Vincent and the Grenadines has reached the semi-final group stage of the CONCACAF zone on six occasions, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2011 and 2015-2016, but has failed to advance to the phase commonly referred to as the “hex,” as it contains six teams.(RT)