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Vincy Heat’s appeal


Vincentians who followed Vincy Heat’s last two games would have realized one fundamental thing. It is simply that once we get into that kind of league we have to lift our game to another level. Our team obviously has talent and this is important and necessary, but it takes more than talent to take us forward. Prior to the game against Guatemala, I Witness News quoted Ezra Hendrickson, who is part of the coaching team, as saying that the team has natural talent, ‘but we just need maybe a little bit more players out training every day on a very professional level’. The coaching team has to do what it has to do, but much more is needed from the government and people of this country.{{more}}

Football needs resources and our country is short in this area, but we have to prioritize and to treat our involvement in sports as an investment. Millions of people would have known or heard about SVG from the game with the US. Sports reporters were trying to indicate where this tiny country, as they called it, was located. Most said west of Barbados, north of Grenada and south of St Lucia. I am surprised that none said, ‘part of the Grenadines’. We probably got more publicity than we get from the spending we have done through our traditional advertising channels. Granted, after the game the publicity would not have been what was wanted. But the question of their lack of resources was noted. One reporter was even shocked that the team did not have its own playing facility. The game is more popular in the United States than many of us realize. It is played in schools and has a large following in a country where football is soccer, but soccer is not football.

The investment will be in our young people. Once they operate at that level, many will become visible to scouters and stand a chance of finding places in leagues all over the world. They have the skills, but need to lift themselves another notch. One fully understands the limitations the Football Association faces. Before playing the US, our practice game was against Antigua, a team that is at our level. Then we go off to play against the US, which has made it to the World Cup on many occasions. It is like a lightweight in boxing fighting in the light heavyweight class. We have a daunting task to lift ourselves to the level required. Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica ensure that their preparatory games are against teams that have already made it to the World Cup or have been producing a high level of football. We are in a group with the US, Guatemala and Trinidad and Tobago. Reversing scores of 6-1 and 4-0 will be an almost impossible task, even if everything falls into place for us. We have also to play against Trinidad and Tobago. T&T drew with the US and beat Guatemala 2-1. We are really up against it. Hendrickson did indicate that to stand any chance, they would have had to win their game against Guatemala. So, there it goes!

Emotionalism and patriotism are not by themselves going to take us very far. We, as a people, have to do as much as we can. I was disappointed with the turnout at the Guatemala game, especially since we had been granted a half holiday. I don’t know if this was done, but it would have been good to have had some of the companies operating here sponsor tickets for schoolboys and girls who might not have been able to afford the cost of tickets. We have to continue as far as possible to give our support to our team. After the kind of defeats they suffered against the USA and Guatemala, one can imagine that their spirits are down, but life has to go on and the team really needs the resources with which to work. So, this is my appeal and a challenge to this country. We spend money on all sorts of things that bring little benefit to our people, so how we prioritize is important. Moreover, one of the things about sports is the discipline that it brings. I have highlighted football not only because of our recent matches, but because it is our most popular sport. We have to put this in the context of a country where ill-discipline prevails.

The Traffic and Transport Mess

A friend of mine who is from SVG, but lives in another small Caribbean country, was of the view, as she expressed to me on a recent visit, that we seem to be becoming uncivilized. She was referring to the scene she saw between 3 and 4 o’clock on afternoons, with scores of schoolchildren and workers on the street going from Kingstown to Peace Mo, some even going past the Girls’ High School gap. Although they are on the way to the country, they stand where they are able to catch vans heading to Kingstown. She had, she reported, seen some of the vans actually make U-turns on the main highway. She was appalled, but I told her this was a scene that I have to confront every day. She said that in the country where she now resides that could never happen. Persons line up and wait for their vans in a very orderly way.

Some of us have grown to accept this, but when you reflect on it you have to ask what has happened to us. Something really needs to be done, especially since the truth is that it reflects our approach to life. But move on we must!

Dr Adrian Fraser is a social commentator and historian.