A former general secretary of the Grenada Football Association (GFA) expresses disappointment at Grenada’s failed bid for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, and believes that he knows the reasons why. Grenada’s World Cup dream was shattered when the team suffered a 3-1 defeat against Haiti in Grenada, followed closely by another defeat (3-0) in a return game in Haiti. As a result, organizers believe that it is time to take a clinical look at the strengths and weaknesses of the Grenada football team and put structures in place that would take local football to a higher level for moving forward.
Alexander Roberts, who was general secretary from around September 2013 to April 2014, agrees with the organizers’ assessment but states that it does not go far enough. He says that it appears to be only talk since this was articulated before. He states categorically that there is not a comprehensive coaching programme from the GFA or football officials for the Grenada team; or if there is, it is not implemented. In a chat with Grenada Informer, Alex identified a variety of areas that need addressing if football in Grenada is to go forward, pointing out that all the areas are equally important and not necessarily mentioned in order of priority.
Alex suggested that there must be programmes that cater for the physical, social, mental, technical and tactical aspects of the development of each individual player. In that regard, even simple things like diet and disciplined bedtime become essentials, but which are often taken for granted and ignored by coaches. Coaching is poor in Grenada because the coaches themselves are under-prepared.
FIFA usually conducts coaching workshops in Grenada but Alex does not believe that these one-week crash courses go far enough for participants.
Roberts also has some choice words for the business community. While deeply appreciating the contributions of the business community, he notes that many of them come on board only after successes of sportsmen and women. He understands and appreciates that position since the sponsors want mileage for their investments. However, he is appealing to sponsors that they come on board much earlier and not wait until the national team wins. He said that funding is needed for developmental programmes, and this is always very costly. He feels that if more is spent on development, results would be much better; and that is probably the problem with the national football team.
The former general secretary is convinced that football in Grenada is lagging behind in terms of technology. Very often the team does not have the facilities, not even the video of a game involving themselves to review after the game in an effort to assess their strengths and weaknesses. He believes, too, that there is too much infighting and power struggle at the expense of talented players, who are eventually left by the wayside. Many officials are not prepared to follow and be advised, according to him, but everyone wants to lead and they are not capable of leading.
Asked about the coming on stream of the new secretariat, Alex pointed out in dismay that the site was secured and handed over to the GFA, and the sod was turned in a ceremony which involved FIFA officials. However, up to this day he has not heard or seen any tangible indication, which leads him to believe that it was a political gimmick at a time of GFA elections. He also questioned the fast turnover of general secretaries over a relatively short period.
The former executive member is the proud director of one of Grenada’s leading football teams in the premier league. He hinted that the team is not doing so well; he is embarking upon a tight programme of coaching and training which looks at all-round and holistic personal development. He admits though, that he has not yet incorporated females into the scheme of his programmes; but this is under serious consideration given the fact that more and more women are involved in local football at the GFA level in accordance with the FIFA agenda.