Football gets high grade
Two events over last weekend, has given football in St Vincent and the Grenadines, a booster shot.
Firstly, the efforts of the Bequia Football Association (BFA), which staged the final of its maiden floodlight football competition at the Clive Tannis Playing Field.
The innovation of re-positioning the lights on the adjoining hard court to project onto the field, and the additions of a bank of portable lights, whilst inadequate to some extent, provided that much needed fillip to football and sports on the island.
Public support for such ventures in relatively small communities such as Bequia, was paramount in showing the way forward.
Sporting activities pitched in the night, fits perfectly in the cultural setup of Bequia, as the pre-dominantly tourism-dependant island has reduced sporting participation during the other hours of the day.
More so, the BFA has extended the continuum of those organizers of communities who have improvised with makeshift lights, to add to their football competitions’ output.
Therefore, there is mounting evidence of what are the dire sporting needs of the various communities in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
This also strengthens what has recently been a pet subject of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation (SVGFF), which is pursuing vehemently, the lighting of three playing fields – Campden Park, Chili and the Richmond Hill facility, also referred to as the Grammar School Playing Field.
It is now incumbent on the relevant authorities, namely the various arms of government, to be cognisant of the demands of the sporting community and deliver with a matter of urgency, a phased approach in the lighting of playing fields.
It is pointless to spew an agenda to fashion a programme to use sports to put a dent on crime, and the lighting of playing fields is not part and parcel of your intent.
The provision of lights on these sporting facilities goes beyond simply hosting of activities in the night, but adds value to the country’s night life.
As a consequence as well, there is a plus in terms of the safety dimension.
Conversely, having sporting events in the night provides an outlet and confidence for persons to leave their homes at those hours.
Surely, if pursued, then one will see, once more, some level of prominence given to sports in this country.
The other happening over the weekend that filliped football, was the SVGFF’s hosting of a female schools’ football festival last Saturday at the Victoria Park.
Like the lighting of playing fields, the matter of getting more females involved in sports, and football is no exception, has been a bug bear for many national sporting associations.
It was however, heartening to see the numbers which turned out at last Saturday’s festival.
This is not to say that one sunny day makes a summer, but the mere fact that over 200 students were part of the festival, augurs well for the development and growth of female football.
The SVGFF has to now build on the enthusiasm shown and turned that into real development, as having the quantity is just one part of the equation.
Those who are in charge of female football in the ranks of the SVGFF, have to work doubly hard to keep increasing the numbers, as one readily accepts the fickle nature of women in sports.
But what the SVGFF has done at last Saturday’s festival, whilst not totally novel, was a timely event.
Surely, those who were responsible for the near perfect staging must be commended.
The female schools’ festival can now serve as a best practice for other sporting bodies which are grappling with getting sustained female participation, more so commitment in their respective programmes.
So whilst football has provided the framework for two important kinks in St Vincent and the Grenadines’ sporting landscape, the narrative is there for others to replicate in their sphere.