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Patriotism and football


Facilities for sports here continue to be a contentious issue. The recent visit by FIFA Development Officer Harold Joseph was aimed at enhancing this country’s chance of acquiring Phase One of the FIFA Gold Project, which provides some US$400,000.

And if that segment is a success, SVG could be in line for a further US$400,000. But that has a series of factors hinging on it. {{more}}

To what extent the National Sports Council was engaged in discussions with Joseph and the Football Federation will perhaps be revealed in the process of time. The use of Victoria Park as a home for football appears to have been an agenda item. There is no doubt that football has been suffering from lack of a home.

Those on the world stage marveled at this country’s progress in football given the facilities.

Mexico is still heading the pack in the Concacaf World Cup qualifiers, and they are on their way to Germany for the 2006 World Cup.

Vincentians reflect on this country’s display against the Mexicans at the Arnos Playing Field in September last year.

Some persons still dub the result a draw, giving Vincy Heat the benefit of a point for a match, which they lost on the official match card.

But no one will forget that Vincy Heat, lowly ranked, with shortage of facilities and professionals, took on the Mexican might and had them panting for breath.

The dubious conversion by the Mexicans was attributed to poor officiating by persons whom observers have branded as having been guilty of big nation football politics.

In fact, the Mexicans were on the defensive in that game here. The Vincy Heat’s performance was one that forced football pundits to take notice of a place called St. Vincent and the Grenadines. And do not forget that Vincy Heat played for more than half of that game with ten men.

Mexico missed out on the final of the Gold Cup, eliminated by guest team Colombia.

Some persons contend that the home leg of the Vincentian/Mexican game could have been one of the factors contributing to the Mexicans’ apparent slide.

Vincy Heat missed out on both finals of the Concacaf World Cup qualifiers and Digicel CFU Championship.

To what extent the National Lotteries Authority has been or will be part of deliberations for use of Victoria Park will be a matter of public debate.

What is certain however, is that the time has passed for Football to be given a level of courtesy and respect. But that also depends on the federation itself.

The 2010 World Cup is not as distant as it appears.

Coach Zoran Vranes has plans for grafting a squad in preparation for future endeavours. How well he succeeds with a team for an Under-15 tournament also depends on the availability of a field where proper sessions could be conducted in anticipation of any real competition.

There has to be an appreciation of the situation by all involved. The Football Federation, the National Sports Council, the National Lotteries Authority have to iron out whatever difficulties may exist among them, and there must a level of patriotism attached to handling the scenario.

The squabbles over turf and who controls what has to cease.

Sport has always been an escape valve for Vincentians. It relieves stress and engenders pride.

It is also a basis for economic upliftment with tremendous overall repercussions. But the benefits appear to be lost in the quest for accomplishment of personal satisfaction.

Our potential in football must not be squandered for any reason. The onus is on us to come to grips with the situation and deal with the issue once and for all.