It’s a good feeling
For the past week, the buzz in local sports has been the Windward Islands Football Association (WIFA) senior men’s football tournament.
This buzz was heightened by the performance of the home team, dubbed Vincy Heat.
It has been pleasing to the eye for the new look team, that was able to successively piece together three successive wins.
It is not very often that those who follow Vincentian football have had something like this to shout about.
Instead, they have had to endure years of suffering from strings of losses and more so, teams that have looked deficient in many facets of tactical football.
Things, though, do not happen before their time, as the decision made by the executive of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation to almost sweep clean the coaching and management staff of Vincy Heat, has already proven to be a good one.
This decision is not only being vindicated by the positive results in the ongoing WIFA tournament, but the visible signs of change that have been instituted by new head coach Kendale Mercury and his new configuration.
Mercury, this country most qualified football coach, chose to invest in some new players, blended with a handful of seasoned ones, to take St Vincent and the Grenadines through this tournament.
What is noticeable with this current team, most of whom were making their senior national debut, is that willingness to do well and ultimately win.
In addition, one has seen a fitter team; a team that has glimpses of a pattern of play and a team that has some togetherness, on and off the field.
In short, they have been different, if not better, than recent teams that represented St Vincent and the Grenadines.
But let it not be harboured that with the successes of the WIFA tournament, the team is polished with perfection.
Neither should it be entertained that Mercury and company are the new Messiahs of St Vincent and the Grenadines’ football.
Despite the most recent good results, Mercury was, and will be for some time, under the microscope, as the position of head coach has not been a bed of roses.
This WIFA tournament, though, was a good assessment to guage where St Vincent and the Grenadines’ football is, as compared to our neighbours in the Windward Islands, as well as Barbados.
From the teams’ outlook, except for Dominica and Barbados, who in the main, featured almost the regular squads, St Lucia, Grenada and the host, engaged younger, emerging players.
Therefore, in the case of St Vincent and the Grenadines, the technical staff of this country’s football would have to fashion the programmes to iron out the kinks which have manifested during this WIFA tournament.
One should not think it is all honky dory for the past week’s display by Vincy Heat, as the team’s depth can do well with a few personnel here and there.
Give and take, in another year or so with constant technical development, one cangive a better informed evaluation of the present team.
Some patience must be exercised in the rebuilding of the Vincy Heat unit, as with a new coaching staff, comes a different coaching philosophy, a different management style, all which both the administrators of football here and the players have to buy into.
Success is expensive, hence for us to have consistent good results on the pitch, the commensurate inputs have to be made by the national administrators of football.
They have to go beyond the competitions and the normal day-to-day administration, and look critically at developing the sport as a marketable tool.
The physical support by Vincentains given to Vincy Heat in their matches at the Victoria Park for the past week and the hype that exists with the team, thus paves the way for the bigger ask when they take on Bonaire in the CONCACAF Nations League qualifier on March 21, at the Arnos Vale Playing Field.
In the interim, congratulations to all who have put the systems in place, for football lovers and others, to enjoy that good feeling.