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Give some more attention please!

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The saga of the ineligibility of some players in the recently concluded National Under-13 Community Inter League football championships was rather unfortunate, but avoidable.{{more}}

Although not new to the local scheme of things, what occurred reflects a trend that has been allowed to fester in the lower tiers of sports here in St Vincent and the Grenadines. Such situations seem to go on unchecked over time, as little attention is given to such competitions by sports leaders.

It is commonplace that the youngsters get the second best and in some cases the worst. On the other hand, the players at this level exhibit uncontrolled passion for the sport, which cannot be denied.

In the case at hand, whilst the said administrators laud the emphasis on the youth, the reciprocal due processes are never followed. The media hype and other attending procedures to make the competition worthy are never put in place.

Back track to the opening of the competition in March, at the Grammar School Playing Field. It was delayed, as the organisers hurriedly attempted to get the venue marked, all of this in full view of parents and the players alike. Even last Sunday’s intended showpiece final at the Victoria Park fell short, as the goal posts were conspicuously leaning and the nets rickety.

With this type of negligence in train, it follows that the managers, coaches and others see the Under-13 competition as basically a sweat. Would this happen at the commencement or during one of the bright-eyed senior championships? Absolutely not, as the senior men’s competition is the organisers’ trump card and selling point for glorification.

But as things unfolded and the latter part of the competition ended on a sour note, the die should have been cast.

The buck then stops with the organizing committee of the competition, and ultimately with the executive of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation.

Be that as it may, it was still incumbent on the managers and coaches of the teams to inculcate the correct habits and values in the youngsters as lifelong skills. Power to those team leaders who adhered to the competition’s rules; but those who knowingly violated the rules of eligibility must be condemned without any iota of sympathy.

But exposing of the vagaries of the national Under-13 football competition is simply one factor in the overall laissez-faire approach that pervades youth competitions across St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The delicate and impressionable minds then are left with the long-lasting view that what they receive by way of administrative handling of such competitions, is the best there is, and the best they deserve.

Youth competitions are the breeding grounds for the proper intake of the rudiments of the various sports; the entrenching of proper sportsmanship, as well as the shaping of one’s value systems, among other character building traits.

Coaches of teams in all spheres of sports need to acknowledge that they, too, are the guardians of the nation’s youths. Therefore, whilst the coaches may be driven by success, if it comes at the expense of character and integrity, the cost is too high.

To many persons, it does not matter whether the rules are followed or are broken; it does not matter what kind of person the player is, or is destined to become, as long as he/she gets the job done, then bravo.

We cannot fail or lose if we emphasize that character and integrity are not negotiable.

Therefore, the fallout which subsequently will emerge from the U-13 competition should act as a guide to prevent such happenings in the future, which leave everyone losers, and the various sporting disciplines no better off.

Let us now re-focus our efforts in all sectors of sports on what matters, to be successful not in what we do, but in who we are.

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