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Rural Football and NCB North East League

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We will never be able to select the best football team to represent our country, if we fail to give careful attention to the development of football in rural districts.

For the past two years, I have followed football very closely at Cane End, Biabou and Georgetown. This sincere interest has grown since I am a natural lover of the game, and I will journey with the Paradise Investment Carib Warriors, which I now manage, to various games in various leagues. Carib Warriors, a team not new to winning tournaments, after a short break regained the trophy last Sunday in the NCB North East football league.{{more}} I am convinced that that game was one of the better finals played in local football in a long time. Brown’s Town Most Wanted lost three goals to two to Paradise Investment Carib Warriors.

However, football goes beyond the fact that my team won. Yes, it is always joyous when as a sponsor and manager you receive the winning trophy, but there should always be a bigger goal to reach for and larger trophies to win.

In most rural districts, there is a great need for coaches. A team in a rural district with a coach is definitely the exception and not the norm. Most players who perform well at the competition level are either extremely naturally talented, or were either assisted at the secondary school level, or may have been exposed to some form of coaching at the local level because of experience garnered outside of their particular team. The evidence is there. We must, therefore, develop a plan to bring an end to what I consider the ‘trial and error’ game that we have subscribed to over the years. If football is to be sustained at any high level in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, we must become methodical and strategic. This is an early challenge for the Football Federation.

There are too many loose ends to be tied in rural football. At the end of the day, if we are to analyse the competitions in Biabou and Georgetown, the burden is left on only a few to ensure that these competitions continue. In Biabou, the hard work of Dwight Samuel and “Fishy” , and in Georgetown the expertise of Trevor Huggins, James Browne and Marlon Tommy must be recognized for making football possible in these two areas. There is greater need for partnership at all levels. The National Commercial Bank has played an important role in the development of rural football. It is safe to say that it has made football possible. While it is natural to always advocate for increase in sponsorship, it is time enough that we move towards legally incorporating our teams where there is an absence of this, and conduct them as viable organizations. I can envisage that football teams from throughout the island will be willing to converge at Cane End for a Cane End Foot Ball League Day, where there are invitational games and a massive fundraising activity conducted.

We are living in changing times. We must, therefore, make the requisite adjustments to stay afloat. We need to go back to the drawing board with many things. There are innovative strong men in various districts, these persons include Larry Bascombe and others who with the assistance of the willing can change the face of football in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

The new energies in the Football Federation must build on the successes of Major Leacock. This at all times will be integral to the partnership needed, if we are to move forward as a progressive force. Early in the new year, I am expecting that the Football Federation will journey throughout St. Vincent and the Grenadines with a joint-task force from the government, and hold consultations in every single league in this country. Nothing less will suffice. We must sort out the alleged irregularities with our finances yes, but we have work to push and we must begin early in the new year.

Paradise Investment Carib Warriors football team is expecting a year of many changes and challenges. The team will be legally incorporated in January of the new year, and is expected to conduct an entire year of fundraising activities. In February, there will be a recruitment drive launched to reach new players, since we must always refresh our players. This is not to say that our mature players would be thrown by the wayside, but we must ensure that the younger warriors are given a chance to exhibit their skills. The intention of this is to begin the process of building an effective under-16 squad by December 2008.

There has been great mention of the need to develop a female team, and we intend to complete the blue print for this by the end of the year 2008. Plans are in place for an overseas tour to Tobago in August 2008. We also expect improved results from the Biabou competition in the upcoming year and we intend to compete at Cane End. We will also ensure that our voice is heard as it pertains to the development of rural football in our country. Technical assistance has been volunteered by Andrew Bramble so that we can improve the quality of our game that we give to our many fans. Employment for some players is an issue that is on the front burner. Some players will, therefore, undergo certain levels of remedial work, but it is all a work in progress.

It brings a deep seated joy when we can see as a people that football goes way beyond its physical component. We hear of sincere efforts to be tough on crime and the causes of crime, some effective more than others. However, we have empirical evidence to prove that sports is a sword against crime.

If all goes well, Paradise Investment Carib Warriors will always be a force to be reckoned with whenever football is mentioned in this country. May God bless all other teams and football evangelists throughout our nation for their efforts in 2007, and we pray for renewed strength for the challenges in 2008.

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