Saint Lucia’s senior football team is presently in Grenada to play some friendly matches in preparation for the upcoming CONCACAF Nations League tournament.
The ‘Piton Boyz’ are due to take on Anguilla in an away-match on March 24 and Dominica on March 27 in the return leg of matches.
Head coach Stern John accompanied by Francis “Baba” Lastic and other members of the technical unit, left the island earlier this week with a contingent of at least 23 players.
John is very optimistic of the team’s prospect for the return leg matches and sees the ‘freindlies’ as an opportunity for local players to match up their skills with other Saint Lucian professionals. He said this exposure will allow the team to gain added match practice in the buildup for regional engagements.
“A lot of the players are buying into what coach Baba and myself have been putting out for them and it’s only right that they get the opportunity to go to Grenada and express themselves,” declared John.
He said that as much as the technical unit looks to recruit professional players to strengthen the make-up of the national squad, the local players are equally important “for our preparation and for the future of Saint Lucian football.”
Commenting on the team buildup between the Saint Lucian professionals and local players, John noted: “It is a build up for the local players to play at the national level …we have a group of players who play international football, and we have a core of players that we are working with.
“So we want to give the players an opportunity to play at international football. So we will be using some of the local players with the international players to play the two international games,” John said.
The Grenada trip has three scheduled matches:
March 3- Saint Lucia vs. Grenada
March 5 – Saint Lucia vs. Grenada
March 7 – Saint Lucia vs. La Horqueta Rangers (Trinidad & Tobago professional soccer team).
Meanwhile, the Saint Lucia Football Association [SLFA] Inc. is set to embark on a National Talent Identification and Development Programme. The project has been approved by the SLFA Executive Committee and supported by FIFA.
The programme is due to commence this month and will see the setting up of four zonal centres around the island where talented footballers (Boys & Girls) will be coached with a view to enhancing their technical skills and mentality.
The programme is being implemented by the Technical Department of the SLFA headed by Cyril Podd and ably supported by Denis Didier, Evastus Augustin and John Sealy. Several coaches have been selected to coach at the Zonal Centres and will soon begin the work that needs to be undertaken.
An SLFA official stated that each league will submit a total of six footballers (Boys and Girls) aged 12 – 17 years who will form the core of the players in their respective Zones. This was mandated by the SLFA and seen as an equal opportunity exercise. Subsequently, a synopsis of the programme’s concept has been forwarded to the Leagues.
Podd meanwhile, held informative sessions with the lead coach assigned to each zonal centre.