As the Barbados Football Association (BFA) hunts for a new technical director, former national captain and Concacaf coach instructor Renaldo ‘PeeWee’ Gilkes is considering throwing his hat in the ring for the position.
Gilkes, who turns 35 on Monday, told Barbados TODAY it would be a great opportunity if given the chance to lead the technical development of football in the island.
A former Notre Dame captain, Gilkes has a Concacaf B licence which is one of the main requirements for the position of BFA technical director. He said that even though he has a lot of work to do in the coaching realm, he was asked to apply by local and regional officials and therefore will consider the opportunity.
“It would be a great opportunity if given the chance to lead the technical development of my country. But I still think that I have a lot of work to do within the coaching realm of things.
“I still enjoy being on the pitch. Being a technical director, even though it is a technical position, it still requires a lot of time administratively in the office. I have been asked to put my hat in the ring by local and regional officials and mentors. So, I just might throw my hat in the ring and see what happens,” Gilkes said.
The position of technical director became vacant earlier this year when the BFA parted ways with Ahmed Mohammed following certain allegations made against him. The deadline for those interested in applying for the full-time position is Sunday, August 15.
Gilkes, who represented Barbados from Under-15 through to the senior national team stated that more emphasis needed to be placed on grassroots programs.
If given the opportunity, Gilkes who majored in Mass Communication and Physiology, would seek to strengthen the grassroots program for continuity. He also believes that more coaching education is needed and that there needs to be a stronger relationship between the clubs and the local FA.
“I think a lot more attention needs to be spent towards the grassroots program. Successful teams have very strong national programs because they recognise the importance of continuity. I would say heightened awareness and appreciation for coaching education and more importantly forging relations between the clubs and the FA.
“I think the only involvement the clubs do have with the FA is when they go and vote. I don’t think that a lot of clubs recognise the importance of their existence to the FA. On the other hand, I don’t think the FA understands that they are there to serve the needs of their members,” Gilkes explained.
A former coach of the National Under-17 team, Gilkes who holds a United States National Soccer Coaches of American Advance Diploma stressed the importance of having a national curriculum.
“One of the things I would want to implement and work to ensure is that the highest level of football acquires the highest level of certification for coaches which is currently the Concacaf B licence. So, that is one of the things I would definitely be implementing.
“One of the things that I think needs to happen is the creation and execution of a national football curriculum. It would allow us to create a philosophy, an identity and for us to have a shared idea of what our football is like through that curriculum. And that curriculum would be created with the help of the coaching education department which is in dire need within the island,” Gilkes said.
He added: “Coaching education is not solely for coaching licence, it is for informal and formal education, it is for mentorship and it is to create a bigger pool of people who can teach the game because that is what a coach is – a teacher of a skill.
“If I were to be given the opportunity to help develop the coaches within the island and more importantly have a group of coaches within the national teams and top divisions within the country, that would be my focus.”
Traditionally the local governing body for football in Barbados has leant towards an overseas-sourced technical director. But Gilkes made a case on why he thinks the BFA should look to hire one of its own.
“Culture and environment are crucial variables when dealing with football because football is usually a reflection of the people, a reflection of the environment. If we are to look at some of our Caribbean neighbours who are doing well, for example, you have Grenada in the Gold Cup right now and their technical director is Jerry Alexis.
“There is St. Kitts and Nevis who are knocking on the door of qualifying for the Gold Cup and have gone into the second round of the world cup qualifiers after ousting Trinidad and Tobago. They are into the second round of the qualifiers and their technical director is Jeffrey Hazel, another local and former national player.
“St. Vincent has Keith Ollivierre, another local. There is Anton Corneal in Trinidad and Tobago. The reason for having those local technical directors is that they understand the system, they understand the people, they understand the politics and personality of their respective nations. So, yes, I would like to see a local technical director,” Gilkes said.