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Fast forward the process

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There is no doubt that St. Vincent and the Grenadines possesses a good stock of raw sporting talent.

Natural athleticism and innate gifts abound in all sports.

In my view, football undoubtedly, the most popular sport here, has the largest reservoir. But, sadly, there is where we stop.{{more}}

In the space of one week, I witnessed three major football matches, the knock-out final of the Ju-c Pepsi Arnos Vale League, and the two friendly internationals involving the St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago Under-20 outfits.

And, it was a good barometer from which to measure, as they provided insights into the emerging players, the best of the immediate reserved stock, and many of the established products.

At the advanced end of the tail of the assessment, the need for established “elite clubs”, as being proffered by the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation, is undoubtedly a must if we are to go anywhere with the fast-paced football world.

It is quite evident that even the established players, despite their experience and years of exposure, are tactically deficient.

A similar picture holds at the emerging end. The current National Under-20 teams, without hesitation, groups a reservoir of rich ability, and the most potent combination in the land. A fit bunch, full of enthusiasm, but mentally and tactically malnourished.

The results of two draws against the more accomplished and financially better off Trinidadians underline our football abilities.

Welcome it is, as the Trinidadians have been on the road and have the privilege of gelling as a team over an extended period.

We may boast of how talented the present Under-20 team is, but our players’ approach towards Football is basically from a skill standpoint, and the ability to run and kick.

The other facets, which make them complete, which can move them from good players to great players, are left to chance.

But the players are not the ones who are responsible for their present lack of preparation, as the structure of Football here does not allow for committed players, who are taught from an early age social interaction, competition drills, on-the-field match analysis and thinking out of the box in given situations.

Harnessing this talent is, of course, vital, as we have produced similar teams in the past, who have drifted into nothing.

The process of getting these current players to the realization of their potential must be holistic, and must be done with guarded caution, and with the persons with the right know how.

It was quite evident that man management and interpersonal relationships are lacking among the team in total, inclusive of management.

Players seem on their own. The presence of geographical area cliques is evident. And they are not being cultured properly on the bench.

Respect is a two-way process, and mutual understanding for each other is the hallmark of team building, and from my estimation is an area missing from the hopefuls. It was also noticeable that the international requirements and standards are yet in train in both our players and officials alike.

To hear officials hurling harsh comments at players and getting theirs in return questions our readiness for this sort of competition.

We seemed too fixed in the mode of the “hairum skarum” approach to sports; that adaptability and getting to that next level often becomes a painful exercise.

It was instructive that the Trinidad and Tobago captain, Leston Paul, despite his tender age of 18, was able to acknowledge the abilities of the Vincentians, but pinpointed their tactical weaknesses.

Paul’s assessment came because he is exposed at a higher level of playing and coaching and has been into the club set up from his pre-teen years.

Our players know very little of this type of upbringing.

Here lies the major difference.

So, it is the task of the SVGFF to really sell profitably the need for proper club structures for our Football, so that the nurturing of players is done in a systematic way.

What also needs to fast forward is the process of removing that “Mound” at the Sion Hill Playing Field.

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