The Barbados Football Association’s (BFA) development programmes are about to get the proverbial shot in the arm.
And that’s because football’s world governing body, FIFA, will soon be increasing its funding to Barbados and other member associations.
This was revealed by BFA general secretary Edwyn Wood, while speaking at the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) D Licence Coaching Course opening ceremony this morning at the Barbados Olympic Association.
Though not giving the specific figure, Wood said the current annual US$500 000 designated for the BFA would be increased in 2017. He said FIFA had pledged tremendous support to its member associations across the world.
“Before we were receiving [US]$500,000 and next year it [amount] is going to be different. So it gives us more leverage to give you the tools that you need to get football going on a different level.
“We spent ten days formalizing the BFA’s strategic plan for 2017 to 2020 and it came just on the heels as FIFA announced its increased support for member associations. So it puts us in good stead so that we are not just talking but we actually have the backing of FIFA to ensure all of these things that we put into this strategic plan can be realized by 2020,” he said.
Wood stressed that as long as the BFA received the support of the players, coaches, referees, stakeholders and fans, that by the year 2020 the country would be seeing a vast improvement and new brand of Barbados football. Before an audience that included course participants, CONCACAF instructors Lenny Lake from St Kitts/Nevis and Vin Blaine of Jamaica, Wood said these would be exciting times for Barbadian football.
Earlier this year Barbados became the first country to have a C Licence coaching course and with this being the fourth D Licence course done under the Randy Harris administration, Wood made it clear they would seek to up their game further with a number of other courses that would include a CONCACAF goalkeeping course from October 17 to 21 and at least three other C Licence courses in 2017.
Wood added that the BFA had just completed its strategic plans that would touch on six areas, namely technical, national teams, clubs, management, facilities, marketing and revenue.
“Right now we are leading the region in coaches. The Barbados Football Association set out to ensure that there were educational opportunities for coaches when we came in 2012 and I can say without a doubt the number of courses we have been trying to put on we have been doing it. If we want to improve football in Barbados we must start from the ground up.
“We are the first country in the region to do it [C Licence course] and next year we want at least three. We already got another goalkeeping course coming in October and we will be rolling them out because we think that it is important that the coaches are educated and the knowledge that these fellows [instructors] have is passed on to the people that can empower the youngsters to train, eat and perform better,” he said.
Currently there are 71 D Licence coaches in Barbados and with this batch of 34 participants that include a record-breaking six females, it means that the BFA will now have more than 100 certified persons on the island.
The four-day course consisted of both theory and practical sessions with the focus being more so outside the classroom, said Lake, who is one out of three qualified C Licence instructors in the region, with the other two being Blaine from Jamaica and Ettienne Sealy from Curacao.
Lake, who is no stranger to Barbados, told the prospective coaches they needed to be committed and put in their fair share of hard work in order to be successful in receiving their D Licence.
He said too many times coaches tended to believe that once they could “wave that little paper” they were actually coaches, but really and truly a coach was someone who was humble and always ready to impart knowledge to young minds.
“So I say to you – give back. That is what this country needs. Not for you to forget, but for you to give back the service and gratitude that the BFA has offered you to sit here and take this course,” he said.
Meanwhile his counterpart Blaine pleaded with the participants to treat their minds like a parachute because it worked best when open.
“Come with an open mind and we will all benefit from it. We are all sharing knowledge and that is what it is about. You have different ideas about football, [but] there are some basic rules and principals of coaching and that is what we want you to understand,” Blaine said.
The D Licence course will conclude this Sunday at the Wildey, St Michael Astro Turf.