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Football in a regressive state Pt:1

Football in a regressive state Pt:1


by: Desmond Morris ( 23.MAR.07

Vincentian Football has been in a regressive state for the past decade, this was evident in our poor performance in the Digicel Caribbean Cup held in Trinidad during February 2007. Vincentian football must not be viewed from a perspective of our infrequent qualifications in regional tourneys, but from a position of what has been done for the development of football on a sustainable basis.{{more}}

Football development resides solely with the St. Vincent & the Grenadines Football Federation (SVGFF), as a result when there is limited or no development this is a reflection of SVGFF”s failure. Whereas the senior national team receives the immediate attention from the SVGFF, insufficient resources have been dedicated to youth development. It begs to question: where will the future Vincy Heat come from?

Trinidad and Tobago provides evidence that an investment in the youth football payed dividends when they placed runners-up in the Digicel Cup Finals; a younger and more inexperienced team than what participated in the 2006 World Cup.

Administratively the SVGFF has failed to structure youth leagues, finish national leagues and to coordinate a national program for the men, women, boys and girls. What is evident however, is the need for a strategic plan to direct the development of Vincentian football by 2014 (in time for the World Cup in South America).

Furthermore, football development must return to the grassroots whereby the community leagues are strengthen and given the financial and administrative support. A National Curriculum must be implemented, whereby coaches throughout the country must teach age-specific techniques and tactics to provide the base for national selection. Primary School football must be another major focus, the introductory level where many of our Country’s boys and girls can be exposed to the mechanics of the game – a critical learning stage in their lives.

From an examination of the numerous football camps Touchmasters conducted in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, what I recognized was the need for regular camps for our footballers from the youth to senior level. Such an environment improves the level of the team’s technical and tactical ability, their mental toughness and physical strength. Also of paramount importance, is that it builds team cohesiveness and the professionalism. Football camps were responsible for successful Vincentian teams of earlier years.

I was privy to attend the recent preparation for the Digicel Caribbean Cup and what was evident was the lack of enthusiasm amongst players, unstructured practice sessions and lack of fitness. These factors contributed to our early exit during the tournament in Trinidad.

This reiterates the need for regular camps for our national footballers from the youth to senior system. Any strategic plan for football development must take these factors into account, with training sessions being geared toward – match conditions and game related exercises with the session ending with goal specific games.

Another factor for development is to utilize the soccer scholarships offered by the US Universities. These institutions offer a sort of incubator for our national footballers, for them to excel both in their technical and tactical abilities whilst attaining higher education. Renson Haynes has been the latest recipient of this route and is displayed in his stellar performance when called upon to perform national duties.