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Focus on Football

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When former President of the then St. Vincent Football Association, Basil “Bung” Cato, over three decades ago, coined the saying: “Soccer, Soccer, the game of the people”, it resonated in the minds of most people, hence, the nation lived it.{{more}}

Simple as it was, it engendered self belief, and lovers of Football owned the sport, and undoubtedly there was progress, as the psyche of Vincentians was captured.

However, we have not built on that, and the sport and its fast pace methodologies of development have left us standing still.

Rolling the ball as it were has been our main focus, with other facets of the game given little priority or neglected totally.

Additionally, the iniquitous tendencies of our people at times have become main course, whist the crux of the matter, the players, infrastructure, the need to be more proficient at the way we do things have become the side dishes.

So as this country embarks on another World Cup campaign, the sixth in our history since becoming a member of Football’s world governing body, FIFA, we also have on the agenda the elections of a new Executive to run Football affairs for the next four years.

Sadly, whether ill timed or strategically convened, the focus will be on Annual General Meeting, more so the elections, as people seemed to be more consumed with the Football politics and the politics of Football.

It will be the grand stage for some to gain Football mouth and to gyrate with delight and use the occasion as a launch pad for abuse of the incumbent and those seeking offices.

With elections in the air, little attention will be paid to the young Vincentians who have the arduous tasks of defending St. Vincent and the Grenadines sporting morale in six matches, home and away against Guatemala, Grenada and Belize.

Our nation is always at a disadvantage when it comes to the big times like the World Cup, and it has become more pronounced with all the side shows which are taking place.

However, those who are put on the field by Technical Director/Coach Colwyn Rowe will give of their best, and that is certain, as the others have done in the past. Be reminded that no one goes out there and plays badly on purpose, except in cases of match fixing, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines players have no need to resort to that.

Our international cupboard is bare, neither have we extended our genealogical arms as others would do, to put the best possible team on show.

However, some of the Vincentians who journey to the Arnos Vale Playing Field for the home matches, many go there to pull down the players, the management and the Executive of the SVGFF.

Our local support base for Football is a mere handful of faithful, so our players are not known or revered, as the clubs here are in the main orphans, with players coming from various parts of the island.

We do not possess a sport culture. In fact, sports is simply a past time, and for many a nuisance, because, as a people, we have not grasped how much sports can assist with national development.

Therefore, this World Cup sojourn may be just another run of the mill outing – we enter a team and we keep our end of the bargain.

Whatever the outcome, praise or criticism of the national executive, the players, the coach, do we go back to square one, and repeat the process four years after?

Hopefully, this will be the last time this will occur.

Despite our limitations, the misgivings and issues confronting us as a Football fraternity and a nation as a whole, let us rally round the players. They are the best we can offer in the circumstances.

In 2004, St. Vincent and the Grenadines team was defeated by continental power house Mexico, right here, one nil, not only because of the skill and will of our players, but the support which Vincentians gave the players then on that memorable Sunday afternoon in October.

And, this column after three years of pounding has got its wish, as the Mound at the Sion Hill Playing Field is now history.

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