Castries, St. Lucia- In a bid to focus resources and improve the performance of national football teams, an expansive plan has been outlined by the St. Lucia Football Association.
New Technical Director Ces Podd will lead a major effort to develop a team capable of competing for entry to future Olympic games. The Expansive programme has been outlined by the SLFA’s chief technical representative in a clear statement of intent.
Mr. Podd, who took up his role responsible for the technical development of local football in April, will work with all levels from elite to grassroots in a bid to better prepare ST. Lucian players for the demands of the modern game. As part of that programme, the Technical Director will over see, four new centers of excellence around the Island and institute a comprehensive youth development programme, with the help of the SLFA’s partner, the Sacred Cows Group.
“Today is the beginning of a new plan for the advancement of sports in this country-football in particular,” said Lyndon Cooper, First Vice President of the SLFA in his opening remarks recently at an Olympic Solidarity Coaching course organized jointly by the SLFA, the St Lucia Olympic Committee (SLOC) and FIFA, the world governing body for football.
Mr. Cooper said that 30 plus district coaches, attending the course, have been assigned to Under-19 teams and were all now part of the initiative.
“This is the commencement of St Lucia’s journey to the Olympic Games,” said Mr. Cooper. “The journey has been started at this time because the SLFA feels it is necessary to begin to plan in excess of two years, in order to create any impact necessary for the advancement of football at the regional and international level.”
The coaches have been placed in a special program for their continuous development, under the direct supervision of the newly appointed Technical Director Ces Podd.
Mr. Podd will in mid-June begin a four week evaluation, monitoring and advancement programme with the coaches and key local players to build confidence and accurately assess talent and opportunities going forward. The Technical Director will use a tried and tested structured youth development programme to foster consistency in methods and approach island-wide. The programme includes detailed physiological, Technical, Tactical and Psychological techniques aimed at preparing coaches and players for high level competition.
Castries, St. Lucia- Football star Brian Deane is expected on Island in Mid-June as part of a new coaching programme introduced by the SLFA’s new Technical Director Ces Podd.
Mr. Deane, a former football star with Benfica, Leeds United, Sheffield and England. He will help coach local youth and look to inspire a winning mentality going forward.
“We are delighted to have Brian Deane as part of our programme,” said Ces Podd, Technical Director. “Mr. Deane knows what it takes to be a top international player and can only help. He’s more than just an inspirational figure. Brian is a budding coach and wants to help instruct the players as we begin to work with them more. He is the first of many such visitors you are likely to see working with the programme.”
Mr. Deane is a cult hero in his native Yorkshire. He was scored the first goal in the English Premier League for Sheffield United against Manchester United after just five minutes on August 15, 1992. In the same game he scored a second after 50 minutes from the penalty spot as Sheffield United went on to win 2-1.
While playing for Sheffield United in the early 1990s, Mr. Deane won 3 caps for England, playing against Spain in September 1992.
He left Sheffield United for Leeds United for £2.9 million in June 1993 - a record signing for Leeds and a record sale for the Sheffield club known as the Blades. He later re-signed for the Blades, though left in a shock move that saw him transferred to Benfica, where he played under the leadership of Graeme Souness. He retired at the beginning of the 2006-07 season. Mr. Deane is a Sports Consultant for Blacks Solicitors LLP in Leeds.
The SLFA will launch one of the largest youth development programmes targeting girls and boys under the age of 12 ever undertaken in St. Lucia at the end of August, it can be revealed.
The SLFA and FIFA-backed Grassroots programme will be the start of a major campaign to encourage more children under the age of 12 to play the game.
The Grassroots programme differs to other football development schemes in that its organisational framework offers a great deal of flexibility. The first phase of the project began last September when FIFA technical representative Alvin Corneal undertook an on the ground analysis in readiness for the programme.
The successful implementation of Grassroots initiatives is dependent on the accurate appraisal of the situation on the ground, an evaluation of the country data and an assessment of local needs. This work, was carried out by Mr. Corneal for FIFA in conjunction with the SLFA.
This initial phase allows the programme objectives to be put into a local context and to tailor resources so that these goals can be achieved:
FIFA is making a genuine effort, especially in the lesser developed countries, to find youngsters who do not have the opportunity to play football to bring the game to them.
“The intent is not really to produce national players,” said Mr. Corneal on his visit in September 2009. “It is to produce individuals who will play and by using football as a catalyst become good citizens who will respect their parents and elders. It’s all part and parcel of a development process.”
While in St Lucia, Mr. Corneal visited a number of rural communities and villages, most of which lacked an organized structure.
“Because of that what you find those kids do not have the opportunity to participate in an organized form. Some of the fields are just like half a field and others are just patches of grass where you can run and play. ”In late August, the SLFA will organise a seminar and a festival.
The seminar organised by the SLFA and attended by budding coaches/educators will be led by FIFA’s specialist instructors. The seminar provides an opportunity to study every facet of the programme: methodology, knowledge of the specific circumstances of the children taking part in the coaching, safety, technical aspects and small-sided games.
The next phase is the Grassroots Festival, with the emphasis being on the word “festival”. This celebration of football gives each participating team the chance to play the same number of games, which are interspersed with exercises. The idea behind the Festival is to provide children with a positive experience and to give them all the same opportunity to play, without an overall winner being declared at the end of the day. This is not always possible in tournaments, where teams can be knocked out quickly, denying young players to chance to play and sometimes giving them a negative impression of the game.
The realisation of a new home for the St. Lucia Football Association has moved a step closer with the announcement recently by the Government of fresh funds set aside for the completion of the Goal Project works. Prime Minister & Minister for Finance Honourable Stephenson King made the announcement in his Budget presentation on April 19, 2010.
“Over the last three years, we have consistently demonstrated our commitment to providing world class sporting facilities for local and international sportsmen and sportswomen,” said the Prime Minister. “As part of the FIFA Goal Project, the Government has allocated $2.6 million to initiate the works at Bexon. The project comprises the establishment of two playing fields, administrative buildings and other supporting infrastructure.” The project is expected to be complete by August 2011 and has been in the pipeline for some considerable time.
At its meeting on 15 October 2003, the Goal Bureau approved the construction of a technical centre in St. Lucia, outside the capital Castries, comprising one natural turf pitch with a security fence, artificial lighting, and a grandstand with offices and changing rooms. This project will be the SLFA’s first independent operating base, serving as a technical centre for football development at all levels, including national teams, youth and the women’s game.
To help with the development of the project, FIFA has already set aside US$400,000 for the project, now located in Bexon, outside the capital Castries.
Mr. Podd spent most of last week in the Cayman Islands meeting with other technical directors from the region and senior FIFA officials at a conference designed to develop the game. The first ever FIFA/CONCACAF Technical Director Seminar between April 27-29 was conducted by FIFA Course Instructor Alvin Corneal and other FIFA/CONCACAF presenters.
It was designed to cover areas relating to grassroots programmes, club administration and management, road mapping of future projects, current situational analysis, as well as needs and challenges going forward. “We are at the start of an important journey and this was an excellent way to begin,” said Mr. Podd yesterday. “The SLFA and its executive have given me the task of working to help improve all areas of our technical approach to the game and we will ensure that happens.”
Mr. Podd has a vast wealth of football knowledge and contacts and comes to St. Lucia as part of the agreement the SLFA recently signed with the Sacred Cows Group, which has been given responsibility for helping develop youth football on the Island. As well as working in St. Lucia last year during the Sacred Cow team’s efforts to produce a National Sports Coaching Plan for St. Lucia,
Mr. Podd understands regional football well. A former high level professional footballer and coach in the UK, Mr. Podd hails originally from St. Kitts. He is a previous successful St. Kitts National team manager and ex-technical director of football for St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Mr. Podd has a reputation as a shrewd talent evaluator and coach with particular expertise in developing and nurturing talent. He joins the SLFA as a key member of the Sacred Cows team charged with helping reorganise and restructure youth development football in the Island.
Over the next month he will continue to undertake the detailed situational analysis already underway. He will also travel to Trinidad with the team overseeing the women’s senior team’s second round of World Cup Qualification matches.
The former professional footballer of 14 years carried out extensive work for the Sacred Cows Group, as part of the team that helping produce a new National Sports Coaching Plan for St. Lucia, financed by the European Union. The St. Lucia Football Association was a key collaborative partner and played an important role in developing Mr. Podd’s schedule during that programme. As well as helping produce a national sports coaching plan, he worked with a large number of local coaches and players and helped create a detailed programme module and manuals, which are expected to be used in the current development programme.
Media requiring further information should contact: Delroy Alexander on t+519-8190/
Castries, St. Lucia - St. Lucia will be the ideal location for one of the region’s first FIFA Com-Unity Seminars. The three-day Grassroots and Youth Football Development seminar will be the start of one of St. Lucia’s largest grassroots sports development programmes.
The seminar will discuss ways to roll out a more structured grassroots youth football programme, identifying and supporting credible NGOs on football-related projects, and improving the relationships among all stakeholders in the game. Expected to take place between August 4-6, the seminar is likely to draw a number of leading lights from all over the world, as the SLFA looks to better establish its reputation on the global stage. The seminar is intended to improve cooperation and communication between a member association, its government, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working in the country, other partners, and the media.
The three days of seminars will include discussions at every level and on every subject relating to youth development. Com-Unity is a FIFA Presidential programme, the purpose of which is to improve awareness of the value football can have in a country. As such, the seminar is intended distribute knowledge on communication and marketing skills to help member associations attract partners and sponsors. Participation by key individuals from the government, the media, actual and potential partners and other organizations is requested and is a critical component of this course; invitations for these individuals are to be extended by the member associations hosting the seminar.