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A THORNY ISSUE – Going tough for Forde


Andi Thornhill

A THORNY ISSUE – Going tough for Forde

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IT?IS?TOO?soon to give Colin “Potato” Forde the boot?
There were calls for the coach of the Barbados senior football team to be fired after the Tridents were beaten by Guyana on Friday and were virtually kicked out of the qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup.
It was the team’s third successive defeat and that’s why the feint-hearted wanted his exit.
It was a very poor assessment of the situation.
In the first place, the question has to be asked if the Barbados Football Association (BFA) has an effective structure in place for any of its teams to compete in major tournaments.
The answer will have to be no.
The association continues to be defeated by things that seem to be basic.
For instance, how is it that it took more than two years to replace missing passports of overseas-based players?
Didn’t we know like everybody else when the qualifiers would have been played so we could have cleared that hurdle in good time?
Subsequently, this lethargic approach may have prevented us from securing the services of a couple of the better overseas-based players from the start.
When you look at the approaches of the other teams within our group it betrayed our lack of preparedness for the qualifiers.
Both Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana made every effort to include all of their top players in their squads while we were left at the starting gates still not certain whether we were going to use this exercise to rebuild the team or keep with the old guard who were not able to get the job done.
My real point in this regard relates to whether we do enough research to discover the true number of players of Barbadian descent competing in foreign leagues.
Clearly, the recycled handful we use on occasions can’t be all there is out there whether they play professionally or attend universities and colleges.
The World Cup is the most prestigious stage for football so we must raise the bar from an administrative viewpoint otherwise we will seldom make a significant mark at any point of the competition.
Our sterling performance in the qualifiers for the 2002 World Cup was a one-off, but realistically it is being overly optimistic to believe lightning will strike twice in an arena where professionals and professionalism dominate.
Ah, but that’s where we went wrong!
We didn’t follow up on a notable display by making the organisational base stronger to build on the good work started by coach Horace “Tobacco” Beckles and the rest of the technical team. Almost ten years after, we still don’t even have a venue where the association can prepare its squads, albeit the National Stadium is used for training sessions.
We only have a squad in training when a tournament is around the corner.
We never ever play sufficient friendly internationals.
Our selection of the training squad is always adhoc and always just a few weeks before competition.
On the other foot, many of our opponents put things in place in critical areas so that it is never even close to a level playing field on the day of reckoning.
Essentially, we have had the same structure in place for eons. It hasn’t worked but we continue hoping for miracles.
Governmental support is below par if we take into account how some of our neighbours are treated in similar circumstances.
Football is not treated as a priority. In short, Forde is experiencing the same organisational blues as those who preceded him.
Is it likely that on the law of averages that Forde will do better or that he will create the miracle we think is possible with a paucity of vital resources?
He needs more time and if I was wearing his shoes I would proceed by shaping the team around more youthful players with the 2018 qualifying campaign in mind.
Alas, his success or failure could be dependent on what happens off the field rather than on it.
 
 Andi Thornhill is Sports Editor at the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation.
 

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