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HOT SPOT: Hoping for spot on BFA council

Ezra Stuart

HOT SPOT: Hoping for spot on BFA council

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I’ve been involved in local football as a player, club president, team manager and reporter at different stages during the last 30 years.
Somehow, I was never elected to serve on the Barbados Football Association’s (BFA) executive council in any of the positions such as president, senior or junior vice-president, general secretary, treasurer or floor representative.
I was never a member of any of the committees like the selection, tournament or disciplinary. Neither have I ever been appointed as a national team manager, assistant or head of a delegation. Hence, no free trips for me.
Unfortunately, I did not sit the referee’s examination so I also never got the chance to blow a whistle and officiate at any level, or obtain a FIFA badge because of my age, rather than my ability, as is the case these days in most sports.
But with the BFA’s annual general election scheduled for later this year, I’ve decided to start campaigning by presenting a manifesto titled Promises And Proposals To Solve Problems, hoping to finally land a post.
President – Should I be elected, I wouldn’t only attend FIFA congresses and CONCACAF meetings, but would also make an attempt to keep up with the Joneses and find some time to be present at local matches, not only the international games when other dignitaries would be present. I wouldn’t see my role only as being present at Press conferences to make announcements.
I would also admit that my party’s general election manifesto of a new stadium for football was just a promise. Furthermore, I would humbly accept that politicians had scored no goals for football infrastructure as Barbados still doesn’t have a quality football field, far less a mini stadium.  
Senior Vice-president – I wouldn’t stay in only one yard instead of being senior vice-president, chairman of the youth committee, chairman of the selection panel, and president of Notre Dame.
I would admit that I had handled Norman Forde’s omission from the national World Cup training squad the wrong way, and should’ve sought to resolve issues with him following his criticism of the BFA’s treatment of the national team on his return from the Digicel Caribbean Cup in St Vincent last year.
I would make it absolutely clear that the best footballers, barring those with the wrong attitude, would represent Barbados regardless of colour, class or club affiliation. However, young talented players would also be exposed even if they were not ready for international duty.
General Secretary – This wouldn’t be a case of hindsight so I would enjoy my honeymoon in my new post while awaiting the BFA’s constitutional adjustments in adherence to FIFA statutes for the secretariat of national associations.
With the World Cup qualifiers on the horizon, it would be prudent to contact overseas-based players about representing Barbados in the qualifying campaign, while ensuring that their passports and other documents were sorted out.
I would recognize that local Sunday matches should be marketed even more in the print and electronic media to boost attendance.
The outstanding players in the FA Knockout Cup would receive vouchers for Kentucky Fried Chicken now that the “finger licking” eatery was sponsoring that tournament.      
National Coach – I would recall my namesake Norman Forde to the national senior team as he is still the best player in Barbados.
I would select more than one player from the current Premier League leaders Youth Milan and exclude those who had been selected but were either injured or not having a good season.
I would always want my national team to consist of the best players, not just youthful players. Therefore, players such as Malcolm “Buju” Marshall, Lionel Paul, Dwayne McClean, Dwayne “Boot” Griffith, Kenroy Skinner, Romelle Burgess, Andre Daniel, Arantes Lawrence, Duwayne Peters, Ramon Greaves and some others would be invited.
I would even ask the BFA for technical assistance from the knowledgeable Keith Griffith and add a goal-keeping coach to the management team, as is the modern practice.
Goal project – Now that the field at Wildey has finally been cleared, I would update the football fraternity on the GOAL Project. I would even propose that another feasibility study be undertaken and permission again sought from Town and Country Planning to have floodlights installed.
The real goal should not only be to have a million-dollar training facility, but also a home for football where matches could be played at night like in other countries.
Tournament/Fixtures Committee – I would make sure all playing fields were properly marked and that I had enough balls at open venues so referees couldn’t abandon any matches because of a shortage of balls.
I would also say whether there would be a Guinness Super Eight Cup this year.
I would no longer schedule matches involving the top teams at 4 p.m., as was the case with Youth Milan vs Brittons Hill and Youth Milan vs Notre Dame. I would make them the feature matches.
I wouldn’t have Division 1 teams travel from St Philip, Christ Church and St Michael all the way north to St Peter to play each other at the Boscobelle and Speightstown playing fields. Instead, I would schedule such games for more central venues.
It’s a pity there are no floodlights at the Mapp Hill/Dash Valley ground while other fields, including the one at the National Stadium, are not properly maintained by the National Sports Council.
National Footballers – I would make sure that I could pass any drugs test should I gain selection to the national team. I would put country over club and attend national training even if my team had a training session on the same day. I would concede that it was almost impossible to secure a professional contract in Europe unless my country’s FIFA global ranking was among the top 75 in the world.
Barbados Cup – I would say a big thank-you to all the stakeholders who contributed to making the 24th Barbados Cup a success.
I would be very happy that things had worked out smoothly over the use of the National Stadium. But, by George, I would have to explain how three of the four Most Valuable Player awards went to players from Trinidadian teams that did not win a single title.
Manager – Frankly speaking, I would acknowledge that being on the BFA’s council had helped in my appointment as head of the delegation and manager of national teams at the youth and senior levels and my deputy could also vouch for that.