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A good start to a tough journey
The renewal of interest and enthusiasm among the players selected to travel to Belize and Peru for two friendlies is hardly ever surprising to those who have followed the game of football in this country over the years.
Six months ago, it was difficult to lure even some of the local players to attend training sessions with the national squad. The local players may have been forced into refusal by their clubs, all of whom are focused upon their teams’ positions in the league.
The overseas players have always been confronted with silent persuasion from their owners as well, unless of course, it is an official Fifa day.
The two-part qualification process has been ignored by quite a few overseas players, most offering an excuse of some kind.
Now that the die has been cast and the country will be involved in the Gold Cup finals in the USA, the rush for places in the team has begun.
In a country which is sparsely populated like our own, the desire for getting the best players must be paramount in the minds of the coaching staff.
It has always been my belief that the first ingredient in a good player must be his discipline on and off the field. Just look into the history books and the proof that poor discipline has shortened the careers of many sportsmen.
On looking at the chosen names for the two match series, my observation tells me that the successful development of players over the past eight years seems to have been derailed.
There must be some explanation for the absence of players like Leston Paul, Lester Peltier, Julius James, Hughton Hector, Kevin Molino, Kareem Hyland, Daryl Roberts, Young Primus, Sean De Silva, Juma Clarence, and a few others who have disappeared into thin air.
Millions of dollars have been spent on the investment which started since 2004, exposing these lads to well over sixty internationals in preparation for Korea U-17 Fifa finals in 2007 and Egypt U-20 Fifa finals in 2009.
Is it that we believe that qualifying for the Gold Cup is the yardstick for which we aim, or did we not expect that these players of the past seven years, many of whom are in their mid twenties, will have been more than ready for this big event? With the experience gained, they are probably in the prime of reaching the point of fruition at this time.
We have been at the Gold Cup finals many times before, and except for Bertille St. Clair’s semifinal entry many years ago, we have not achieved more.
Despite all the hoorah, the funds have been supplied for the process to continue, thanks to the Ministry of Sport, so there is no good reason for the Soca Warriors not going one step further.
While I am not aware of the reasons for the names listed above, I still have the confidence that we can produce a bunch of players who will have learnt to cope with pressure from the international scene, and can be linked together in a collective mode which would bring the results for which this country deserves.
The time to be carefully assessing our players is now and every aspect of each player’s performance must be criteria for his presence or absence from the squad.
The foreign player status counts only when it is accompanied by present quality performances and the same goes for the locals.
The sport-loving public have shown their hands by their presence at the Ato Boldon stadium some weeks ago against Peru. They shall continue to give support if the quality of play is moving in the direction which it seemed to be heading when they played Peru.
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