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Hall of shame

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It is not often that I feel ashamed at a national effort. But last Sunday at the Arnos Vale Playing Field, the showing of our senior football team – Vincy Heat, made me stop, think, reflect and conclude it was two hours of wasted energy by our footballers.{{more}}

Never did I hold the view that our team would have easily rolled over their opponents Canada, but I thought that we would have put up some sort of resistance.

Neither happened, as the nation felt one of its greatest disappointments in sports.

We looked like aliens to the sport of Football, called here, “The Game of the People”.

Like babes not yet weaned, our footballers, whom we love dearly, were at sixes and sevens. And, the Canadians just took away their candies, leaving them sobbing in defeat.

Where then does the blame game start?

Everyone will readily throw the blame on Technical Director Stewart John Hall, and understandably so.

Being at the helm at the team’s preparations, obviously, there will be calls for his head on a platter. One will readily question his team selection and tactics, and quite rightly so.

Why would Hall want to select Theon Gordon, take the youngster away from his studies at university in Venezuela, then not include him? No excuse for Hall and company for their decision, as they should have a clear indication of their personnel and who were key in their set up.

Similarly, Hall should be ashamed of his decision to also select Alwyn Guy, a veteran of four previous World Cup campaigns, then have him warm the bench. Instead Hall’s excuse was that you cannot plan your substitutions. So why select him in the first place, if he was not part of your plan. Brainless thinking.

Hall must also be hauled over the coals for his continued tactics of the long ball, that archaic English style that has become dour and unattractive. Why haven’t the English won a World Cup since 1966?

We were critical of former Technical Director Zoran Vranes for his ultra defensive style, but Hall’s spin has carried our football to its lowest display in an opening encounter in our world cup sojourn. In my estimation, it was the worst display of our senior team’s first match, at this level.

The team seemed not to have a plan except to play the ball over the top to find the lone striker Marlon James. I will also chide the players for sticking to the letter which was obviously Hall’s instructions.

They should have seen that his tactics were not working and used their initiative, instead of going like lambs to the slaughter.

Also to learn that the team was involved in high intensity training last Saturday morning, is an unpardonable act of incompetence in the technical team. As it turned out the team looked leg weary on Sunday.

You call that right thinking?

I decisively chose to take the wait and see approach of Hall’s ability to coach a national team at this level, granted that it is basically, new territory for him.

However, his tenure must come in for greater scrutiny and evaluation and some inevitable fire must be lit under his posterior.

In the job for over four and a half months, he, like other international football coaches, must get the wrath, albeit constructively of his output.

But Hall is not alone, as the executive of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation should be hurled with fire and brimstone for its poor attempt at providing a Public Address system at the park on Sunday.

What we got was a system with its decibels that more sounded more like an amplified disc man, to service the relatively vast Arnos Playing Field. In addition, no attempt was made to whip up support from the crowd at half time, when the local lads needed it most. Instead, everyone was more concerned about walking around the venue with their name tags pulling them down to the ground.

It was also shameful that our National Anthem was given such poor treatment. Gosh! Where is the national pride?

But what occurred on the field of play on Sunday, is a culmination of what transpires day in day out in our football leagues, schools’ competitions and the general administration of Football here.

Fundamentally, the structure of football here is the genesis of our continued stagnation if not retardation.

Our display on Sunday, though, is inexcusable, as we have been at the stage of World Cup preparations at four previous outings, so we should have been improving along the way.

As a nation, we seem not to learn what is required of us at the international level, then complain when we are thrashed, when we have choreographed our destiny. If we are not up to it, let us just pack it in.

We do not copy what other successful nations have done to get where they are.

The truth in many of those instances is that other countries see the value of helping to shape a successful sporting culture because it not only puts their country on the map but the achievements of their sportsmen and women go a long way in inspiring national confidence and productivity right across the board.

We need to stop and make a conscious decision, whether Sports is simply recreation or we will continue to be the laughing stock, whenever we step out into the international realm.

But this piece of discourse is another example of warming cold soup. We have debated this issue over and over without any remedial action taken to correct mistakes made in the past.

But this column will continue to seek the answers as to the thinking behind the placement of the Mound at the Sion Hill Playing Field, and the pay day of Technical Director Stewart John Hall.

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