Last week at a press briefing, the St Lucia Football Association [SLFA] reviewed its participation in regional and international events as the organization prepares for competitive upcoming regional and international match schedules.
According to SLFA President, Lyndon Cooper, for 2021 the association fielded representative teams that participated in several regional competitions, namely; Under-15 Boys, U-14 Girls, U-17 Girls, U-20 Girls, and U-20 Boys.
Cooper said the country’s geographic location, size and socio-economic standing with limited resources as a Small Island Developing State (SIDS) does not afford it the privilege to participate in an unlimited number of competitive events.
“As we have indicated, we have recommitted ourselves to ensuring that both teams get the necessary exposure, both locally and regionally so that we can do an early evaluation of what has been taught to them,” he explained.
Also, he reported, there was the recent participation of the U-20 Girls in the Concacaf World Cup Qualifiers (WCQs), “where for the first time in the history of women football, St. Lucia would have been entered in a qualifying stage as the lead team…and that has not happened to us in the past.”
He said the SLFA acknowledges the support provided by the technical unit and other officials for the squad to compete in that group, and remain committed to the future development of the team.
Team St Lucia finished second in the group; as they ended with scores of 2-5 vs Curacao, before they demolished Antigua and Barbuda 8-nil in their final match.
In the Girls Under-17 WCQs, “we are going to do our best to ensure that the team participate in the midst of all the challenges …and we have committed ourselves to participate in the Under-20 Boys WCQs and we will do everything within our power to ensure that under all circumstances, the team gets to participate,” said Cooper.
The SLFA has been at forefront to help heighten awareness with regards the Covid-19 protocols and advocate for more people to get vaccinated , so as to fully enjoy the thrills of the ‘beautiful game’ that will allow players more opportunity to reach out to fans and spectators.
The SLFA president urged “all players, and officials that it is very important to ensure that every single player gets vaccinated.”
He added, “I do not think that as the SLFA, as an organization … we can move forward without taking the vaccination issue, seriously.”
In drawing more attraction from the female community to the sport, Cooper asserted: “There are opportunities in team sport and the opportunities are much more now, than it had been before.”
SLFA Technical Director, Ces Podd informed that currently, there are a number of national teams in training with a ‘periodization time’ in place.
He also spoke of the ConcacafC’License course that is due to be held from October, 28. The 42-hour program will cater for representatives from the respective leagues that has been selected by their sports councils to attend the sessions.
The exercise will require participants to complete both theory and practical sessions before they qualify as C’License coaches. Ultimately, said Podd, the SLFA will venture to have persons qualify for the D’License coaching status, as presently, there are few D’License coaches on island.
Podd also indicated that while the course caters for both males and females; more effort will be made to accommodate more females to qualify as coaches.
The upcoming match fixtures will also feature; the Concacaf Under-17 Girls Championship, in Miami, from October 20 to 24. St Lucia will compete in the Group stages against Antigua and Barbuda, Guadeloupe and Guyana.
“We want to do well…we are going into a tournament where it still revolves around development and we don’t expect to do anything other than winning,” said Podd.
The Under 20 Men’s Championship, in Dominican Republic (DR), will take place from November 4 to 15. St Lucia will be drawn against Belize, St Martin, and Anguilla.
Podd noted: “We are not going into those tournaments just to participate, we expect to win. The preparations, at this moment are going well …and I hope that we are able to maneuver around the problems that we have, bearing in mind the covid-9 situation.”
Meanwhile, on the home-front, the SLFA Div. II competition will resume with matches to be played on Saturdays, from 12 noon, due to the covid-19 protocols and time frame. Matches will be played at the Phillip Marcellin Grounds [PMG], in Vieux Fort and at the Anse La Raye playing field, respectively.
– St. Lucia defeated Antigua and Barbuda 8 – 0 in their final game of the Concacaf Women U 20 / 2022 Qualifiers…