The Caribbean is not short on talent, but their potential needs to be developed in the right way. That was the consensus of Sunderland AFC coaches Ged McNamee and Carlton Fairweather.
McNamee, the Academy of Light manager at Sunderland, and academy coach Fairweather are in Trinidad and Tobago to conduct a series of coaching sessions involving local youth coaches, as well as 30 Under-15 footballers, three from each of the ten Digicel Pro League clubs.
At a press conference last Saturday at Digicel Headquarters, ANSA Centre, Maraval Road in Newtown to launch the three-day Digicel/Sunderland AFC Football Clinic, McNamee said the talent in T&T is no different than in the UK, or anywhere else in the world.
’There’s certainly potential in the Caribbean and Trinidad and Tobago,’ McNamee explained. ’The important thing is how you unearth that potential. It’s the same as in the UK, it’s how you deal with potential in the UK.’
After arriving at Piarco International Airport late Friday, the experienced UK coaches stopped in at the T&T Pro League’s 2009 Digicel Pro Bowl final at Hasely Crawford Stadium and McNamee was impressed with what he saw. He felt the ’game was played in the right manner’ in terms of the level of skill, and the technical ability of the competing players from Joe Public FC and Caledonia AIA.
’I think it is important for the Caribbean region and Trinidad and Tobago as a whole to develop the talent,’ McNamee felt.
The former Hartlepool United player and Manchester United youth coach summed up youth coaching simply. ’It’s a simple game,’ he said, (and) we do simple things. We work hard on the details.’ He added that his intention is to help the young players and their coaches work on developing the technical base of young talent, and stressed on having those technical things ’right’ with the young players first.
He pointed out that what makes a good team a great one in the attacking third is sometimes having that ’special players’ like the ’(Lionel) Messis and the (Wayne) Rooneys’ to break down strong defences and score or set up goals.
’Some things players are born with. You can’t train them in that,’ he pointed out.
The coaching sessions kicked off Saturday with the ’Coach-the-coach’ session in the morning and an afternoon practical session at Police Ground in St James.
On Sunday and Monday, the sessions focussed on the Under-15 selectees from the Pro League, and culminated with a friendly match, as well as the distribution of certificates to participating coaches and players.
The Digicel initiative also made an impression on T&T Pro League CEO Dexter Skeene, who described youth development as ’close to my heart’.
’The future of football in Trinidad and Tobago is in our young footballers,’ Skeene stressed, saying that coaches and methods much constantly improved to meet and remain at world standards.