Given the right conditions and the persons with a positive vision in positions of administration of football in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Kendale Mercury could return as the Senior Men’s Head Coach.
Mercury, whose four-year contract with the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation (SVGFF) expired last Monday, January 2, did not seek to renew his agreement with his employers.
He was into a second stint as Senior Head Coach and Mercury revealed that he had been at loggerhead with the national administrators, therefore he made the voluntary choice to call it quits.
Among some of the issues that peeved Mercury, was the devaluation of the efforts of his charges.
“I don’t think they (administrators) were supporting the players… Players psychologically got to a place and the administrators) basically broke them…. Simple things like making the boots money less, cutting back on their match fees, as well as keeping the zone process going too long,” Mercury bemoaned.
Noting that there were even problems with his coaching philosophies and regimen, Mercury revealed, “They couldn’t see why I wanted to train five days per week, even four days per week, plus a game”.
A Roller Coaster ride
Admitting that his tenure, was a “roller coaster” ride, he highlighted some of the main achievements and pitfalls.
“The success stories of some of the players who came into the team drinking (alcohol) and end up not drinking… Players didn’t have the discipline to train on their own , but then constantly were training on their own… For me the most important thing was the development of the players and the biggest part for me was psychological,” Mercury listed on his A List.
On the flip side, he conceded, “Technically, I wasn’t able improve the players’ technical abilities, there were improvements but not significantly, because most of the players came around at an age where they were already stuck in ways and would have missed a big part of the opportunities to develop technically … However, some of the younger players made strides technically, while tactically it took a lot to get them to come around, but on the physical side, was where I saw the most improvements.”
Hope for Vincy heat
And within it all, Mercury, a Bequia native, holds out hope that with the correct mechanisms in place, St. Vincent and the Grenadines can make steps regionally in the sport.
“I personally think that St. Vincent and the Grenadines can get close to the top in CONCACAF, but with the right set of people, from the administrative arm, from the coaches’ arm, from the players’ arm and the rest that goes with it… The structure has to kick in,” he outlined.
“There are certain basic things that have to be aligned. You are playing less matches in the Premier League of the National Club Championships… eleven games in your First Division and the same eleven in the Second Division …These things can’t help your Football get to the top level, unless you have players playing outside …There is a reason why you play thirty-eight games in the top leagues in the world,” he reasoned.
Having been relieved of the Head Coach’s job, he has identified two areas on which he would to turn his focus: spending more time with his 8-year-old son and playing a part to improve sports and the community life on Bequia.
But he also has plans to use his time away from the national limelight to recharge and come again.
“I will reassess my tenure, look to get more knowledge, that quest for learning more, and come back having a better approach… See where I can improve… See where I can build,” Mercury projected.
Most recently as Senior Men’s Head Coach, Mercury guided St. Vincent and the Grenadines to the 2019 Windward Islands Football Association (WIFA) title, and to second place in Group B of League B of the Concacaf Nations League, also in 2019.
The second place meant missing out on direct qualification to the Concacaf Gold Cup though it allowed the Vincentians to meet Haiti in a playoff for another shot at a chance to play in Gold Cup, but they were defeated 6-1.