National football coaches advocate renewed vision for the sport
Assistant National Coach, Wayne Dover has made an impassioned plea for cohesiveness among local footballers and other stakeholders if the sport is to develop. He is adamant that footballers will benefit if they inculcate the precepts, strategies and vision espoused by the Technical staff headed by Trinidadian Coach, Jamaal Shabazz.
He supported his case by highlighting the progress made by his players over the past years. “On the two occasions, in 1996, the team excelled with a 13 games unbeaten streak and followed this up last year with the historic win over Trinidad & Tobago which saw us advancing to the Third Round of the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers Brazil 2014,” noted Dover. He lashed out at his detractors saying that against this backdrop they are harshly critical of the players.
“This country is full of down pressers (Rastafarian variant for oppressor); men so consumed with envy and hatred that they are incapable of extending a vision for the development of our football yet they continue to criticize,” bemoaned Dover.
Notwithstanding such unfair adversary Dover said that his team is working in the best interest of Guyana’s football. He is peeved that despite the best efforts of the coaching team the unfair criticisms abound.
Easily the most decorated and successful Coach in Guyana, Dover said that the criticisms are making him stronger but there are times when he is angered by the cruel and insensitive assessments of his detractors.
Dover lauded the two tiered system employed by Shabazz explaining that the concept is practiced by the contemporary teams under the CONCACAF umbrella. He said that those ignorant of such strategies are unwisely playing down its importance.
“We have two squads but one national team, one comprising young locally based players who train at least three times a week and another that comprise the foreign based players,” explained Dover. He said that the development team is made up mainly of players who are from the Under-23 squad with a few from the U20. Then there are some competent veterans the likes of Anthony Abrams and Richard Reynolds whose roles are to support the developmental process.
The outspoken coach explained that his Technical staff devised the plan with a view of securing the future of Guyana’s football. Yet his detractors are pedaling vicious stories that the ploy of exposing young footballers is a waste of time and money.
He rubbished the theory that they should instead utilize the youngsters in the World Cup Qualifiers without first giving them the requisite exposure. “Where would we be today if we had not utilized the skill and expertise of Charles Pollard, Kayode Mc Kinnon and company,” Dover rhetorically asked.
He challenged his detractors to examine the efficiency of the two tiered strategy even as he highlighted the benefits derived from the ploy. “The young Jaguars first toured in February and journeyed to Tobago, St. Vincent and Grenada with mixed results,” Dover pointed out. The team lost to lowly Tobago (1-2), the Trinidad & Tobago U23 (1-3) and St. Vincent (0-1) before rebounding with a come from behind victory over Grenada (2-1), finishing that tour on a positive note.
The development programme continued when the team toured Cayenne (French Guiana) and lost the first game to Cayenne (0-1) but rebounded with a victory in the second game (2-0). “This was a definite improvement,” exhorted Dover.
The Assistant Coach further highlighted the activity of his men pointing to their sojourn in Martinique and Guadeloupe where they qualified for the last two Gold Cup tournaments after drawing 2-2 with Martinique and finishing off with a 2-1 win over Guadeloupe, the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Sub Champions for 2010.
“So we can see how these players are improving every step of the way, their confidence is growing and we are also widening the pool of players that the senior team can call on,” Dover pointed out.
Mr. Shabazz supported his second in command, pointing out the wisdom of his strategies. “We selected 10 players from the pool of development to compete in the high level friendly against Guatemala which Guyana lost 2-0 at Providence” he explained.
He further said that his mission is broad based and instead of narrowing to just ensuring the qualification of one team for the World Cup he intends to lay the foundation of developing a football industry that can provide employment so as to add to the economic system in the Caribbean.
“Our detractors are hoping that we fail in this group but our aim is to use the Qualifiers to build the industry not the other way around,” Shabazz explained. He pointed out that football must become so popular that supporters would willingly pay to see the players in the local national leagues and sub association competitions.
“The government and the business community must see the importance and viability of investing in the industry. Only then will the football community be able to make a living from the efforts. Football must become an asset to the economy not a burden on it!” exhorted Mr. Shabazz.
The National Coach further cited the ploy of Jamaican administrators whose strategies has contributed to the national psyche thus creating the atmosphere for the benefits now reaped by ball weavers and other stakeholders in that country. To support his theory he pointed to the situation in the ‘Land of Wood and Water.’
“Jamaica has qualified for a spot in the 1998 World Cup, more that 14 years ago, yet the Reggae Boyz continue to fill the stadium every time they play at home,” said Mr. Shabazz. He pointed out the benefits enjoyed by the hoteliers, the vendors and the transportation industry among others. “Most Caribbean countries lack this vision and Guyana is a perfect example. Even if the politicians do not envision the sport as a viable asset to employment, we as Coaches, Administrators and Technicians in the game cannot be so narrow minded,” concluded Mr. Shabazz.