by Morissa Lindsay
The Barbados Football Association (BFA) is among five regional federations selected as part of a piloting project for the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football Grassroots E Licence Course and Coaching Education Programme.
Specifically geared towards Primary School teachers across the island, the two-day course which ended today attracted 20 participants inclusive of four females who were all encouraged by BFA president Randolph Harris during today’s launch to take the course seriously.
His words of inspiration came just in time as the schools prepare for the annual BICO Primary Schools football competition scheduled to start on May 14 at various venues across the island.
Harris told the group made up of mostly teachers that this was the embryonic stage of domestic football and young people needed guidance which CONCACAF had been able to provide through its capable team of instructors Lenny Lake of St Kitts and Nevis, local coordinator and president of the National Youth Committee Renaldo Gilkes and Andre Virtue of Jamaica along with manager of development in the Caribbean for CONCACAF, Andre Waugh.
“For the future development of our football, this is the most important step that you would have taken. We in the Caribbean in the past have been running the game of football expecting teams to do well at the national level but not putting the technical programmes in place for development. We want to change that now and, in the past, we have had several coaching courses because we want people to be qualified and certified to deal with our young people.
“What we were doing in the past is hoping that we would have a cadre of players that would make our national teams successful. My thing is that would never work, you would play well sometimes and you will win some games but there is no purpose or plan to operate like that. So, I want you all to take this course seriously because most of you are primary school teachers and that is where it begins,” Harris said.
He added: “From this course you would learn a lot of things that you would ordinarily know but they would be reinforced because we must train these young people in a proper way from as early as we can. I look forward to working with you through the BFA for us coming up with a program for Barbados because you will be the resources to make this happen.”
Barbados continues to lead the way in coaching education with 15 coaches recently signing up for the CONCACAF D Licence Coaching Course conducted by Barbadian coaches Renaldo Gilkes, Kent Hall and Ryan Brewster under the supervision of CONCACAF senior instructor Anton Corneal.
St Alban’s Primary, Elliot Belgrave Primary, Vauxhall Hall Primary and Wilkie Cumberbatch Primary were the four successful primary schools selected as part of the piloting project for the E licence course. In addition, St Luke’s Brighton, Sharon, St John and St Elizabeth were the other participating schools, while the clubs and institutions were National Sports Council, Blackspurs and Paradise.
The other four countries selected for the CONCACAF piloting project are the Bahamas, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.
Gilkes, Barbados’ local coordinator for the programme, commended the teachers for taking the initiative towards becoming certified, as CONCACAF sought to develop holistic young men and women through the beautiful game of football.
“I want to commend you the coaches for taking that leap to be qualified. Traditionally in Barbados, we don’t like to be challenged at the sporting level. We also think that because we do it we could teach it and as teachers, we know the strength of technical knowledge and being able to teach. We are not looking to create the next Messi or Ranaldo, we are here to own and develop morals, we are here to foster relationships, we are essentially looking to create a better person. And we are looking to use football as that vehicle to get children, more specifically to get them from where they are to where they want to be.”
Meanwhile, Virtue, a former Jamaica national player, said during his brief remarks that they were not just coaching a game but were coaching a life through the game and an important element of the game was using football as a tool for social change. firstname.lastname@example.org