The smell of freshly cut grass
Whether it’s sand, concrete, dirt
Plastic bottle, stone, fruit, ball
One vs one, one vs five, four vs four, 11 vs 11
Watch the gutter, bank, rain, glass on the floor,
Don’t break the windows!
School shoe, new shoe, old shoe, no shoe
Laughter, pain, sadness, disagreements,
Son, father, mother, friends, family,
Rules, shut up and play! tek that!
I’m the best! I need to be better! I’m too slow!
Holiday, work day, sick day, church day, all is ball day!
Stop, rest, and sleep, ball again!
Sweet bread, stupid man, can’t beat me!
Girl friend or no girlfriend,
Money or no money,
Bruise, broken parts, strains our sprains
Pass or fail,
Win or lose,
You gave me esteem, peace, confidence and an escape
32 years of marriage and counting
This could never just be a game!
In our 32 years of marriage there has been great sacrifice, we had to learn how to communicate clearly and often, make time for each other, plan for personal time, understand that it is okay to disagree, build trust and learn to forgive. There were many highs and lows. Consistent throughout our relationship was love, a passion for the game and working day by day to improve. At this point of our relationship we are in a transition from focusing on what football could give to me to what I can do to improve it and help others along this journey.
A future of possibilities
How do we define a future of possibilities as it relates to St. Vincent and the Grenadines?
Is it getting to the World cup at any level, getting to the gold cup consistently, being regularly in the top 5 in the region or professionalising the game in Vincy?
Are these things that only happen when we are sleeping? Are they realistic or are we destined to remain where we are?
To get to these possibilities we need all stakeholders of the footballing fraternity to have better collaboration, cooperation and coordination, because there are some key things we need to solve.
What do we really want?
When do we want it?
Where do we want to go?
Who do we need to get us there?
Why should we do it?
Until we are able to answer these questions we are not going any where!
I’m not just here to ask questions but I’m also here to propose ideas and start a conversation that needs to be had.
As a federation, we need to understand the best practices of developing our clubs, villages, communities, country and by extension, the region. We need to understand what our reality is the in region and what it would take to close the gap on the more established countries.
- Having a long term development plan for all stake holders
There needs to be a shared vision, mission and philosophy. People and organizations need to have clearly defined roles and functions within the system. Too often, we have been focusing on stop gap methods and solving problems as they pop up instead of proactive and making moves to get us to where we need to be.
- There needs to be a proper player pathway
We must develop players able to meet the demands of the sport at the highest level. Only a comprehensive player development process can help us to do this. Our aim should be to secure life-long players and fans of the game from the youngest to the oldest and to enable talent to be developed to its fullest potential.
- Comprehensive coach education program
Train a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. The product that we get on the field is as a results of what our coaches or lack thereof teach our players. Once we improve the coaches, the players will improve and the game will too.
- There needs to proper support by the administrative and technical arm of SVGFF
There is a need to adopt, implement and comply with all polices and make the hard decisions that will foster the games’ development. It is important that we prepare, manage and reinforce the necessary changes. Support is about teaching to fish rather than giving fish.
- Inclusiveness and ‘buy in’ by stakeholders
Getting a ‘yes’ from parents, coaches, clubs, and leagues is vital for the process of development. For too long, we continued to propagate the belief that the SVGFF is only the executives. Shareholders have a significant role to play. Without their ‘buy in’ and hard work nothing can be done.
- Research and data collection
Data analytics in football provides officials, players, students and coaches with a firm foundation in empirical evidence and data. It offers insight into answering why we are where we are and what we can do to change. This way is far better than what we are doing now which is guessing. There should be a focus on quantitative data, rather than qualitative.
- Proper mentoring and evaluation of all programs continuously
At the programme level, the purpose of mentoring and evaluation is to track implementation and outputs systematically and measure the effectiveness of programs. Proper mentoring and evaluation forms the basis for modification and interventions and for assessing the quality of the work done.
- Well organized structure for both youth and adults leagues
It goes without saying how important a well-organized structure is for the development of all stake holders. Our competitions must be aligned with the international standards. Considerations must be taken for the regional and international competitions and our local culture. We are not enough quality games.
- An elite program for both boys and girls starting at u13 age to u17
Currently, the structure is one where all players play all players, no matter the skill level or experience. What I’m proposing is having the better players play against each other consistently in training and a lot of games together. This may mean having zonal poles. Doing this will facilitate a faster growth of our players in their technical and tactical abilities.
- To drive the process, we needs passionate, knowledgeable, experienced persons with the right leadership qualities.
Avoid placing square pegs in round wholes
Over the years, football has made some great strides; Decentralization of footballing power, National team success at all levels, National club championship development, improved administration and management by the MA, development of clubs, having our own Concacaf instructors, progression of the female game, and affiliates are now able to have constructive meetings. While all of these are great, I’m not satisfied, this marriage can be better and once we improve this marriage, the possibilities are endless!
Special thanks to the federation again for giving me the opportunity to share with fellow stakeholders of the game.
I love this game!
Let’s turn our nouns in to verbs…!