National Football Team Training Resumes

By Reginald Andrew
Image of National Team Head Coach – Jamaal Shabazz (Photo: Anthony De Beauville)
National Team Head Coach – Jamaal Shabazz (Photo: Anthony De Beauville)

Plans are forthcoming for Saint Lucia’s senior men national selectees to recommence training sessions—as the team prepares for this summer’s match engagements.

According to an official of the St Lucia Football Association [SLFA], the players are scheduled to return to on-field practices ‘very soon’.

This issue was highlighted following a meeting with the SLFA‘s Technical hierarchy, spearheaded by Head Coach of the Senior Men’s National Team, Jamaal Shabazz.

The SLFA is keen on getting a team ready to take on some ‘international friendlies’, and are focused  on scouting opportunities for prospective players to ply their trade competing  in professional leagues .

SLFA’s Vice-President and Chairman of the Technical Committee, Emmanuel Bellas, commenting on this latter development, stated: “We discussed with Coach Shabazz the need to activate the Senior Men’s program and he presented his plans for the team in the short and long term.”

However, while coach Shabazz and his technical team are desirous of wanting to play “on all the FIFA Match dates for the rest of 2021”, the financial aspect of this undertaking may pose some difficulty.

Bellas explained that other factors would have to be considered in taking on the “financing of this ambitious plan.”

He added, “The SLFA has to run an association that includes monitoring leagues, engaging in coach education, referees, youth, grassroots, women’s and men’s football.”

Bellas further noted that the Senior Men’s Team is not the only program on the SLFA’s agenda, and so “We have mandated the Technical Director and the Head Coach of the senior team to provide a budget for us to review.”

Meanwhile, the SLFA has granted a letter of Authorization to experienced FIFA Match Agent Alain Rohou. It is anticipated that he will start looking for opponents to play against St. Lucia, from as early as end of August.

SLFA‘s Technical Director Ces Podd commented that, “The FIFA Match Agent is currently finalizing opponents in Asia and Africa. They will not be against major footballing nations, however these matches provide a huge opportunity for our players and the senior team program.”

Podd says that coach Shabazz is keen on playing opponents from among the smaller nations in Europe, Africa and Asia.

“This gives us an opportunity to build our international resume, gain points in the FIFA rankings and market players to leagues that are more realistic to them getting overseas contracts and work permits,” he explained.

The technical director also highlighted some new approaches to the senior team program: “Coach Shabazz in his presentation outlined the need for Match contracts that would cover things like Match fees, win bonuses and codes of conduct for players and staff.”

Moving along, Bellas is eager to see Shabazz begin the ‘Scouting processes’ for players.

“We mandated Shabazz to start engaging players so he can identify a squad for the proposed matches,” he asserted. “This process is to start immediately.”-

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