Saturday, March 2, 2024

Merge them, don’t stop them!


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I’M HEARING whispers that both major out of season football tournaments may be put on hold next year.
I hope what I’m hearing isn’t true.
A red card after just three years will be a bad omen for football.
It will be worse for the human capital because the footballers look forward to an extra pay day; vendors ply a good trade and the community spirit reaches a higher level.
Can we afford to sacrifice this at a time when we need to keep all sectors constructively engaged in light of the hard times?
People need a positive diversion to balance the scales of survival because of our economic reality.
Entertainment, of which sport is a major component, won’t solve the crisis but it helps to alleviate some of the burden we carry in times like these.
This is not to say either that the two tournaments will stop the rut but they can be seen as a light in the gloom.
They may still help some from falling off the social cliff.
I have seen how both tournaments have brought people together, eased tension in the hot beds and equally as important given the players something to look forward to.
They are holistic in their intent and may not have achieved utopia because they are still in the infancy of their overall projections and development.
It shouldn’t be that easy, therefore, to throw in the towel just so and close business.
Football requires patience in Barbados. Potentially it is a product that can be beneficial to many but it needs better management beginning from grassroots to the national level.
One of the root causes for this is that administrators and organisers always look and find the easy way out when problems arise.
It is easy to say the footballers aren’t disciplined but does it make it better for society to leave the young and restless without a road map on how to better themselves?
If we adopt this approach, there is a greater chance for ruin to be entrenched in society than if we continue trying to find alternatives to the problems confronting us.
I agree the players can help their own cause by improving their attitudes and application to training once there is committed support for them.
It could be a case where leaders need to come with strategies to suit the times we are living in.
A new time will see new attitudes that will have to be dealt with appropiately. Consequently, we have to be at the top of our game.
Those at the helm of a sport like football must see their role as life changers even if it appears at times that the only reward is martyrdom.
The organisers of the LIME Pelican and the David Thompson Classic should stand their ground because their efforts aren’t only good for football but the society as a whole.
They are helping to provide some of the social glue that keeps a country on edge integrated.
They should be least among the apostles to underestimate the significant roles they are playing in this regard.
I can understand that Government has to trim its public spending and this may affect the Thompson Classic and I comprehend that declining sponsorship from the private sector can impact on the survival of the LIME Pelican.
Again, this builds a very strong case for a merger of the two because it will be a backward step after such early promise there’s nothing at all next year.
This is the time to sail the ship through choppy waters. Visionary leaders with unyielding faith must be there to chart the course.
We have come too far to turn back now because we have to keep pressing on until we have a full fledged professional league.
Uninvited fiscal adversity isn’t reason enough to drop the ball.
• Andi Thornhill is an experienced, award-winning freelance sports journalist.


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