The Barbados Football Association’s (BFA) long-term vision is to make the sport into an industry, says president Randolph Harris.
Speaking during the closing ceremony for the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football [CONCACAF] C-licence coaching course held recently at the Wildey, St Michael AstroTurf where 13 out of 19 persons were successful, Harris stressed that for far too long Barbados has had untrained persons imparting knowledge about the game to children. He pleaded with those qualified coaches to be the catalyst for a change where Barbados’ football was concerned.
In order for that change to materialise, the coaches must first revamp their attitudes, said Harris, recently elected first vice-president of the Caribbean Football Union.
“We set the policy, you have to make the change, and you have to make the change about your attitudes. In the future you are going to meet charges that are filled with talent and skills that can take them anywhere. You have to have the ability to make them believe that the sky is the limit in this game.
“For too long we have had many people around football, untrained, unskilled, teaching our footballers the game. A lot of you have children and grandchildren and none of you would send them to college with the janitor teaching the class, we need to change and you are the catalyst.
“We have a lot of young people in Barbados that are going astray. We have to start thinking seriously about what we are doing and to encourage the young people to be occupied in a structured environment because not only the footballers would benefit, but those who did not do well at school and those whose parents cannot afford to develop them after school. They can benefit from the game, they can become entrepreneurs, and there are lots of areas these young people could benefit from. We have to take them off the street and we need to do that now more than ever,” he said.
In order to accomplish these goals, Harris pointed out that the product, which is football, has to be of a standard that people, namely the business community and by extension, the society would want to support. BFA continues to put policies in place for the development of football across the island and Harris noted that without football’s governing body FIFA, they could not have achieved many of their objectives.
Adding that the Government of Barbados had failed to assist the football association financially, he said he would like to see the BFA being self-sufficient in its finances and what it is capable of doing for the sport in Barbados.
“We have to set goals for ourselves and as president of the BFA, I want you to be part of that goal. If we can improve the standard of football in Barbados to what it should be, what is going to happen is that we are going to have more support at the gates, in the business community and in our society at large. That would make a whole difference because once we can generate funds, it means you will benefit. I want you all to realize that FIFA and CONCACAF too have been doing a great job in financing us. Sometimes that works against us because we take it for granted because we think we have a right to collect the money from FIFA and CONCACAF and go ahead and spin top in the mud. That has to change, it is not right, because a president of FIFA could come tomorrow and say you see this funding that we are doing, it makes no sense to us. And what will happen to our football? If we did not have funding at this time, we would be playing football in the gully. Our Government is not helping us financially, so it is only FIFA but I want you to be the people that change that around,” Harris said.