KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – Vincentians left the Arnos Vale sporting complex on Sunday pleased with the National Football Team’s 2-1 victory over Grenada to tie for second place in Group E of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.
However, according to Venold Coombs, who is vying for president of the Football Federation, last minute negotiations prevented a national embarrassment as players planned to strike because of low wages.
In the match on Sunday, Myron Samuel put St. Vincent ahead in the 27th minute and Cornelius Stewart added the eventual winner in the 71st minute.
Cassim Langiange scored in the 76th minute to pull Grenada within a goal of victory, the Spice Boys’ second goal in six games.
St. Vincent improved to three points after two matches, the same as Belize but are behind on goal difference. Both are three points behind Guatemala, and three ahead of winless Grenada.
St. Vincent next hosts Guatemala on Oct. 7 before travelling to Grenada on Oct. 15.
Coombs first spoke on Saturday of the players’ threat to boycott the game. He told I Witness News Sunday night that his information about the players’ grumblings was “very, very, very credible.
“You can’t implicate persons but … I am well connected and, trust me, actually, the players left with their belongings on a particular day and if it (the resolution) was not to their satisfaction, they were going to go home. And other players can corroborate what I said there,” Coombs said.
“My information is because of apparently low wages and other benefits … they (the players) were going to take some protest action,” Coombs said.
“[W]hoever took the decision did something to appease the players,” he said, adding that the SVG Football Federation was without a functioning executive ahead of its general meting on Saturday.
Ask what he would do, if elected as the Football Federation president, to prevent such developments in the future, Coombs said he would “engage principal persons within the team to find out what are the problems, what they require”.
“You’ve got to do it in a way to the satisfaction of all. … I have an idea of the price range. … We have a couple of guidelines that we can look …” Coombs said.
He avoided saying how much the Football Federation, under his leadership would pay a national player per game but added, “I think it will be to the satisfaction of the players.”
“… To state [a figure], I would be pre-empting and I wouldn’t even say dealing with the hypothetical. It is a matter where you wait until you reach that bridge to cross. … You have to be responsible in the way you deal with the finances,” Coombs added.