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SVGFF righting wrongs


THE EXECUTIVE OF the St Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation (SVGFF), which for the last four months, has had Marvin Fraser installed as president, has sought to right the wrongs that have accrued over the past seven years.

So far so good, as since taking the highest office of football here, Fraser has taken the lead in healing wounds, mending fences, erecting and reinforcing bridges.

Fraser, on his election in August, had promised inclusion and he has thus far walked the talk and is practising what he has preached and what he has promised.

Therefore, last Friday, when it was formally announced that Kendale Mercury was taking charge as head coach of the senior men’s team, that again represented a step in the right direction.

This column has always advocated that apart from Mercury’s UEFA B licence qualification, he possesses other attributes that are pertinent to modern day football coaching, especially in the context of the Vincentian set up.

However, he like others, was ostracized and marginalized, simply because they could not be twiddled around the thumb of the former president of the SVGFF Venold Coombs.

But the monkey is off the back of St Vincent and the Grenadines’ football, giving Fraser and company the leg room to apply some levels of meritocracy.

Before Mercury, the Coombs-less executive had roped in Clemroy Francois and Yoland London, both who have been at variance with the former disgraced president.

Francois and London were recipients of the verbal acrimony of Fraser’s predecessor, such that they had little interplay with national football, despite their willingness to offer their expertise in the service of the country.

Similarly, Ian Sardine, who was in the wilderness of national football administration for some time, for the same reason(s) which kept Mercury, Francois and London operating as mere spectators; he has been rekindled.

Sardine, with his unequalled tenacity and passion for youth football, has been installed as the coordinator of the SVGFF’s national youth development efforts.

Whilst one should readily applaud Fraser and company for their practice of inclusion, they still have to weigh their options with due diligence and apply a meticulous approach.

Fraser and co are in a privileged position to reshape the tarnished image of football in St Vincent and the Grenadines, not by cosmetics, but utilising effectively, the many programmes as the conduits.

They have been given the tools to work with and have learnt from the perfect non- examples left by the immediate past president, of how not to lead the sport, thus avoid the pitfalls and the mire which football has been placed.

Taking a step by step pathway, things have to be reversed with astute planning and execution.

The recent strengthening of the technical staff, is just one part of the whole, as the results of the various national football units, gauge and evaluate the processes of development.

With this in mind, the appointment of Mercury cannot be a quick fix, as no one should expect a complete change in fortunes of the senior men’s team Vincy Heat.

The new head coach and his assistant Michael Harris have to, in the immediate future, fashion their philosophy on the players, as they prepare them for Windward Islands Football Association ( WIFA) and the Nations League qualifiers, all in the month of March, 2019.

This is so because of the string of poor returns that the team has registered in recent outings, as invariably, a country’s football pedigree is measured by the performance of senior men’s team.

Ironically, Cornelius Huggins, who was at the helm of the senior men’s team for over six years and 10 months, has been deployed to the senior women’s team.

Huggins, like Mercury has been put in a hard place, as during 2018, the senior women’s outfit lost all six matches in which they played.

The losses were compounded by the fact that they were only to score a solitary goal in the complement of matches.

Set aside the on field results, which undoubtedly, make or break the sport, the executive of the SVGFF has to continuously work to correct those kinks in its administrative apparatus, as they seek to move St Vincent and the Grenadines’ football forward.