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Pitching in on street football

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The continued pronouncements by Minister of Tourism, Sports and Culture, Hon. Cecil McKie that the Guinness street football pitch won by Team Crew will be built at Diamond is, most of all, a deviation of all intents and purposes.{{more}}

The St Vincent and the Grenadines’ representatives won the regional street football challenge in Guyana in June, and the pitch was the major prize, along with US$4,000.

Leading up to the finals, it had always been said that the winners would get the pitch in their community.

Unfortunately, McKie, as Minister, sees it differently.

A key factor in making the project a reality is government’s assurance of the plot of land on which the pitch would be erected.

Whilst one may readily accept McKie’s political bantering and posturing, the reality of the situation is that the Diamond site is not ideal, as it kills the enthusiasm and expectations of the players, as most of them have honed their football skills in the Sion Hill area.

This column is therefore calling on McKie to rethink his proposal, and instead, look in the direction of the vacant plot of land located at Bottom Roseau, in the vicinity of the Courts warehouse.

Certainly, such a sporting facility cannot come at a more opportune time for the community, which has been yearning for a lift in their spirits after a long lay-off in garnering success and national recognition.

Once the bastions of sports in St Vincent and the Grenadines, Sion Hill over time has drifted slowly away into a spent force. Hence, winning the first regional title of this nature means much to the community.

Incidentally, the successes of Team Crew served as an inspiration to the main cultural beacon of the community, the Sion Hill Euphonium Steel Orchestra, which took both the senior and junior panorama titles at this year’s national carnival celebrations.

This may be something beyond coincidence, as both the steel orchestra and the football outfit used the Sion Hill village hard court as their practice arena, before entering their respective battle fields.

The erection of the street football pitch will certainly act as a filler for the Sion Hill Playing Field, which has been out of commission for use by the community for the better part of almost two years.

As it stands now, the playing field is partially accessible to members of the community, but there is still extensive work to be done to see it fully operational.

And, there is no assurance that this can be realized in the very near future, as it would require a sizable portion of already scarce financial resources.

The Sion Hill community has been unable to host its annual village football competition, which served as a social gel for the people, as it brought together the respective villages in one area, seeking bragging rights, whilst at the same time, engaging vulnerable minds in a healthy activity.

Set aside the sporting need for the pitch, the community is bleeding internally, as that sociological identity is fast evaporating and being replaced by pockets of deviance.

Additionally, the street football facility, because of its simplicity, can be utilized for other recreational purposes and could be tweaked with some plans that have been advocated for the proposed area by this column.

So, here, everything is left in the hands of the policy makers, but with some careful considerations must be employed and all must act quickly and decisively, as the days are fast passing and the gloss of winning the pitch may soon diffuse into thin air.

Procrastination is a thief of time, and the US$20,000, as proposed to be put into the construction of the street football pitch by the Guinness officials, will continue to lose its value.

It is better to do what can be done now, and not wait on the elusive pie in the sky.

The reality is that whilst a want and a desirable facility, St Vincent and the Grenadines cannot afford a national stadium in the near possible future, except some friendly government reaches out its hand to give it to us.

Let us remember a little with content is great gain.

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