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How will regional teams benefit?

Friday, March 9, 2018

The history of Concacaf premier competition could only be remembered by those who have been around in the early sixties when the number of affiliated countries in the Caribbean was less than what exists today.

Like every new kid on the block, the leaders of Concacaf, all of whom have not been around the confederation's in-depth participation of countries, a factor which deprives them from understand the problems that existed in the past, not normally through errors of the past administrators, but because of the inability of the small populated and less developed football territories.

Today it is easier to recognise the trend of the past decade or two and therein lies the serious disadvantages which face the smaller Islands (now called countries). There was a time when Haiti was a popular venue for the regional finals. Despite their weak economy, they were ably assisted by France.

The facilities were not comparable to even the other Caribbean countries like T&T, Barbados, Jamaica, or even Antigua.

So there is no surprise regarding the new structural change when the ten leading countries are chosen to lead the pack into the finals of the competition.

I suppose that the reorganising of the minnows may be allowed at least three matches in order to find a place and none of the matured countries are among them.

Immediately, my thoughts ran upon the financing of such a venture for the islands whose economies have in the past deprived them of the process of team preparation, the scarcity of fans in their pint size venues.

OK! FIFA has not clearly informed the Concacaf region as to the financial assistance which are (or will be) available to each country, especially to the Caribbean participants.

Then there is the question of development and performances improvement for same, where money does not necessarily bring about improved quality of play among the communities, clubs and national teams.

Occasionally, we have seen Grenada, Martinique, St. Vincent and the Grenadians, creeping into the higher echelons of the Gold Cup final, but they hardly ever sustain their consistency to leave their mark.

There are other issues as well, especially regarding the question of team preparation and the opportunities which these “tiny tots” can get face to face with teams which are more advanced in the world of Football, such as a South American, or European. These are the opponents which provide the lessons in a practical sense and bring the level of intensity, the dedication, and the open minded to their efforts with a burning desire to reach the bright lights of Canada, America and Mexico, whether it be practice, or official competitive matches.

Finally, money is always placed dangling before those countries are awaiting to start their program. But unfortunately, the area which is needed urgently to bring the improvement in the CFU must be coaches Education.

The decision to supply funds for improvement will hardly achieve the success of quality football. It never has and always seems to be insufficient, (as long as FIFA and/or Concacaf) place great emphasis of coaching courses of high quality. There is also the concept of a difference between teaching and coaching, whereby, the age group of kids under ten years must be taught to develop the fundamental skills, of passing, collecting, heading and shooting. Add to that the guidance for these kids to utilize on the movement on the field when they are not in possession.

These are teaching methods which, if not effectively mastered at the early ages, will not reflect themselves when the players enter the middle to late teens.

In the year 2014, as a member of FIFA's Technical committee, I had the opportunity to present an evaluation of the current position of the Concacaf and what I would recommend to the authorities for an improved Confederation. The comparison between what I recommended and what has now been put in place, appears to bear resemblance, except there was an absence of the financial requirement for a better Caribbean success in Concacaf football. Maybe, that is next on the list.



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