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You tell me who is really telling the truth

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09.APR.10

EDITOR: Please permit me a space in your newspaper to speak the truth on a few of the issues that were public on Thursday, April 1st, 2010, on the topic “Tell me who is really telling the truth”.

My name is Kendale Mercury, head coach of the SVG women’s national football team. I was with the team in Guyana and have been with the team for the past twenty one months of their training.{{more}} First, let me say that I am not the kind of person who responds to these kinds of attacks, but when it comes to my staff, I must set the record straight, at least this time.

Miss Kathy Badenock, the fitness coach of the SVG female national team, came on board about a year now and is a voluntary worker. Miss Badenock wanted to travel with us on March 3rd, 2010, to Guyana but could not, simply because she works at a secondary school here in St.Vincent as the Physical Education teacher. Her school had their annual sports meet on Wednesday, 4th March, and she had to be there as the person in charge. This event for Miss Badenock was planned and scheduled long before we received our revised fixture, which now had the games scheduled to take place from the March 4th to March 8th, 2010. The original dates were January 17th to January 21st, 2010.

The next issue concerning her being there for one game was just unfortunate because Cuba pulled out of our zone, leaving three teams instead of four. This meant that all the teams had to play one game less. We only found out that the Cuban women’s team would not be participating during the technical meeting in Guyana on March 3rd, 2010. To attack Miss Badenock like that was low and unfair, and if you had done your research you would have known the truth, or perhaps you chose not to speak the truth. Why not give her compliments for the excellent job she has done with the team? This was evident in our level of physical performance in Guyana. We were by far the fittest of the three teams there. You are speaking about the same Miss Badenock who came to do her training sessions on crutches for weeks, showing her love and commitment. I am glad that she made the trip, and being female she helped with other aspects of the team’s development in Guyana. Where were you when she was giving comfort to players in their rooms after we lost to Guyana?

The attacks on the Manager were also unfair. The manager on this tour stepped in at the last moment to do the duties of the original manager because the original manager had other commitments overseas at the time. It was her first outing in this capacity and she did an excellent job with all the administrative work. A lot of the work was new to her and I was right there at her side to help. The manager fell ill for about fifty-four hours; she caught the flu, but so did another player. There were other players feeling ill also, but nothing that serious.

With regard to the home developed officials, the SVGFF has no control over these issues, and the truth is that the referee in the middle of the second game was from Barbados. Was the officiating poor? Absolutely, but as I always say to my players, never try to control the uncontrollable; the referees are a part of this.

You claimed all the Technical Director and Coach do is argue with one another in front of the players. Is this true? Certainly not. The TD is at the top of the pyramid when it comes to coaching football in SVG. I respect that. Could I stand around less than three weeks before our first game, hearing him say he wanted to teach the girls a different style of play when I knew that their level of football education would not allow them to grasp it in such a short time span? No.

I gave my professional opinion to him as a Licensed coach and he disagreed, which he has a right to. I tried to talk it over with him and he couldn’t see my point. I was there fighting for the players, fighting for you. You don’t know this, but the TD and I had discussed this issue before in private. Did you speak then? No. Did the other players back me up? A few did, and in the end I asked this question to the team: “Are you willing to try this?” I said “You are the ones who will be playing out there, not me”. They said yes. Did we use it in Guyana? No. Why not? Because in training they couldn’t soak it up in time. To say we had an argument is not true. Why did the TD not fire me because he is my supervisor? He can’t because I am not employed by him. If you were as intelligent as you thought you were, you would have known this. He could make recommendations to the SVGFF that they relieve me of my duties. Will they do it? I don’t know.

You asked “Why not ask the coach why the team was so poor after twenty months of coaching with him?” You answer your own question in the article. I quote: “We played well and we could have won the two games”. So stop contradicting yourself. As to the issue with the captain and her suggestions, they were taken on board and discussed openly in front of the team. Maybe you should ask the captain and vice captain about the private meeting that we had in my room just after that team meeting, if you want further information. I also suggest that you have a one-on-one with the defender who played up front in the second game because you were not listening when the information was being passed on to the team about our game plan for the Guyana game. You were clearly elsewhere.

Why the SVGFF didn’t spent the money on better quality accommodation and food when we were in Camps? I don’t know, but what I do know is that we have camped at this venue three times. The players are the ones who said they prefer this venue. The staff did there evaluation on every single camp we had at this venue. We did our evaluation on the accommodation, food, transportation and training grounds. Most areas of the evaluation passed except for a few areas that needed improving. These areas were larger portions of food, time of servings, variety of food, and some of the players had special needs when it came to rooms because of medical reasons. All of this was fixed. To go a little deeper, this venue was used by the SVGFF for the CFU under twenty final that they hosted here in 2009 by another Caribbean team. They used it in the recently concluded CFU club competition that they just hosted and another national association uses it for teams to stay when they are here from overseas. I will also state that I was the coach of the under twenty team in 2008- 2009. Our camp was held at the Greggs Primary School. We slept on cots for twelve days.

Are there issues? Yes. Does some of what you said have merit? Yes. But the real success story to me as a coach is the foundation we have set in Guyana for you the players to get to the next level. This will be proven in the future. The real truth is, ask the players where were they before this present staff started working with them and where are they now in comparison to then. I love all my players that I have worked with – both male and female – and that will not change.

For your information, the present SVG women’s national team ranks 102 in the latest FIFA ranking.

Kendale Mercury

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