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Help wanted

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Help! Help! Wanted, an urgent national youth development football programme.

That’s one of the antidotes needed to aid in the resuscitation of our ailing sports patient-football.

And, such administering must be done immediately.

A look at the current secondary schools’ tournament hastens the attention that football needs.

This tournament is making a mockery of the sport for which this country has attained recognition at the regional and to a lesser extent the international sphere.

It is clear to me that many of the schools are ill prepared or there is no organised programme at the various educational institutions. {{more}}

Most of the players lack some of the basic skills, while there is evidently a lack of passion and commitment both from the students and some teachers alike.

It is a travesty to see 22 youngsters on a field with no sense of purpose expending energies to no avail.

The alarm bell must be sounded at this juncture as there are no real quality players coming through. A decade ago one could have pin pointed persons like Marlon James and Venton James as young talented material who would have made it to national teams. Sadly today, one has to search hard to find players of such caliber in the school system.

Questions must be asked of the role being played by Division of Sports in the development process of the sport in the schools. The intentions were that the assigned officers at this department would design and oversee a football programme that will impact on the students.

But have their efforts been commensurate with what we see on the fields? Or are there mitigating factors that are hindering this programme?

Whatever are the answers, I am proposing the radical approach of disbanding the competition next year so we can add some value to the players, hence the likelihood of an improved competition in 2008.

As those charged with the development of the sport in the land, the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation (SVGFF) must seek to arrest the situation in the shortest possible time.

With universal access to secondary education in full effect, the catchment of our nation’s young footballers is on exhibition.

It is these same players who will be candidates for national representation in the next five years?

The current executive of the SVGFF must cease from drinking from the trough of optimism and acknowledge the reservoir is almost dry and systematic replenishment is a necessity. Admittedly, there is some raw talent around, but talent that must be harnessed properly, through a structured approach.

We are revelling in the sporadic successes of Vincy Heat and the attainment of an 85th placing in the latest FIFA rankings. The strides made by the Under-20’s, in reaching the second round of the Caribbean Football Union’s qualifiers must be celebrated, but who will replace the present crop of senior players, most of whom have been representing this country for more than a decade?

The notion that although this country is not competitive at the age categories, but catch up at the senior level, is a statement laced with archaic thinking.

Pessimism abounds if we are depending on those involved in the present schools’ exercise, as the lack of a proper club structure adds to woes.

All concerned must act with expediency to add a silver lining to hover dark clouds.

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