So Bermuda finished 2012 ranked 157th on FIFA’s list of football playing nations. Small wonder given that a new coaching team only had a month to prepare for an international tournament! You don’t always have to invest money to improve, sometimes an investment in time is all that is needed or maybe a bit more forward planning. Good to see that we are seemingly learning from past mistakes and are giving the coach ample time to prepare for this summer’s Island Games.
For an island nation that once used to brag about being the third richest nation in the world our sporting facilities are surprisingly poor. In my playing day we would often joke about not having hot water for a shower after a game. Visiting these same facilities today unfortunately things have only deteriorated. Aweful playing surfaces, grass not cut, fields not properly marked, dreadful bathroom facilities. The only thing remotely decent is the bar! We cannot keep blaming the government, clubs need to invest in their infrastructure. Otherwise their future, their youth will leave for clubs that do.
Hundreds upon hundreds of young people play football on this island every week. Where is the investment from the corporate world? Sure, we have companies that will sponser a kit for the national program but where is the interest at club level? We all want to moan about our youngsters, the disrespect, the bad attitudes. Yet when we come knocking on your door you turn us away. Oh no! Not football! Too many thugs involved in that game! Football is the most popular, most played game in the world. If you do not want to simply hand over your money then appoint someone from your company to oversee how it is being utilized. Lack of investment in our young people now, leads to a gangster later.
Why has our standard of football dropped so drastically? Did we not pay a technical director several hundreds of thousands of dollars to tell us that we are quick, skillful wingers? Funny but the days of Giggs on one flank and Beckham on the other appear to have gone. Why did we want to learn an English style of ‘get it wide and cross it into the box’? We are an average sized people, someone over six feet is considered tall in Bermuda. We were left with a national academy but a redundant local successor! The game has moved on…..watch Barca!
Coaches, we need to share some of the blame as well. When an internationally respected, experienced, trophy winning coach educator/sports psychologist visits us and conducts an internationally recognized licensed course….for free!!….we need to do better than to have only three or four clubs represented!
Lack of investment, at all levels, in all aspects of the game and financial outlets has made us poor. For the good of the beautiful game and for the sake of our young people let’s improve it in 2013 and beyond.