Possible pathway from 2014 to 2018
One fallout of World Cup Brazil 2014 is the news that the Barbados Football Association has moved to secure the services of a Brazilian coach to help move Barbados football forward, particularly beginning with the country's youth. Presumably, I conjecture this might be a means of getting into the bargain basement. Brazil, having suffered humiliation at the hands of Germany, it may be relatively easier to obtain the services of a quality Brazilian coach at bargain price. This is on assumption that one from Germany would be prohibitive from the point of view of expected inflation.
It will not be first instance of one or other of our East Caribbean territories utilizing a Brazilian connection to attempt to effect a bridging of the technical gap in football. Actually, somewhere in the eighties Barbados availed itself of a German or Austrian coach whose name I recall to be Bernd Fischer. The idea of relying on coaching mercenaries from metropolitan countries has not always sat well with local members of the coaching brigade. This has largely been an issue on grounds that foreign investment has been both costly and non productive. Barbados, for instance, parted company with Fischer some time after the Bajans were embarrassed 5-3 by Dominica at Windsor Park in the Cable and Wireless East Caribbean Regional Youth Tournament.
Dominica, too, made its own excursions overseas when they brought in Trinidad coach Ibrahim Issa and later another Trinidadian coach Jap Brown. It was my privilege to have undertaken radio interviews with both men. In each case I brought up the matter of what elements of training would have been employed to mitigate the extreme weakness of the then Dominica National Teams in the inability to score goals. Both men said there was no need to treat the matter with specific remedial measures. Alas, this weakness still endures even after about thirty or more years!
My concern for such a situation prompted me to assert that the Dominica Football Association needed to postulate clearly to any foreign coaches, or even to visiting FIFA coaching experts, the range of specific deficiencies in our national teams starting at grassroots levels. It would seem this suggestion has never been heeded as useful or relevant in a commonsense administrative premise. The logic here is an acceptance that any coach; whether foreign or local, as a matter of a straight forward appointment, must be given very clear terms of reference for the job and stipulated pinpoints as to the parameters for assessed progress n technical development.
Any attempt to seek out progress for the future of our football must as a priority lay claim to a knowledge of some elements that stood out as exceptional in the scheme of the best we had on the local scene. By so doing, we don't only pay recognition to those who are eminent but we identify the genetic signature as to where our national football identity can best lead us.
For the benefit of those unacquainted with the long lost or misplaced fabric of our previous eminence on the football field it may be helpful to stress just a few considerations. It is easy to recall the Reid family which gave us three brothers, each uniquely outstanding in his own way. The eldest, Joe, could carry a bill without ever seeming to tire. Plallip, the middle one, exhibited a corkscrew run which created for defenders a disabling vacuum around him. Then, as if it were possible to add a further dimension of technical variety, the youngest of the brothers, Alec, demonstrated a colossal neatness on the ground or in the air as an extraordinary defender, giving impression that the ball was tamed by magnetic apparel worn by him.
Phillip crowned his discombobulation of the defense by sliding the ball just inside the post. Alec would take the ball on his head or chest before embarking on an explosive zig-zag run- just enough to lodge his shot past a helpless goalkeeper! And the very good thing about it, the two could repeat their crowning acts from match to match, and in a era when players were not afforded protection by match referees.
If the Reids were sensational, the Elwins were as a family quite remarkable. Sharpe, theelder- all his children were labeled "Sharp" after him, categorized for the swiftness value. In short, Sharpe was a legend on the right wing, the very essence of a swift moving train deemed unstoppable by unscrupulous defenders. But he was only one of a trio of excellent brothers who wore Dominica colours most proudly.
Remarkably, the Elwin genealogy spawned further down the road in that we had Sharpe's sons Henry, Vincent and Cecil as redoubtable performers, and then we were blessed with his sister's children Lennox, Joffery and Algernon embodying an exceptional pedigree of excellence.
One much younger associate tells me when he sees the Argentinian Lionel Messi he sees Robertson (Cocoshoo) Hypolite all over again (in a white skin). Simply goes to tell you there are local gems here, if only we will take the trouble to wash and sift them from the overburden of raw material.
The oft repeated line of the flagrant lack of discipline- inclusive of players sinking into the extreme depravity of drug, abuse should not go unheeded. This must be weeded out relentlessly. We are too small in absolute number to allow an evil to erode the ultimate possibilities of a better development pathway for our football.