By E. Glenford Prescott
A resounding success is how the members of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the Football Federation are rating their recent fundraising trip to the United States
A four-member team comprising chair of the Committee, Nelson Hillocks, Financial Controller, Dougal James, SVGFF Committee Member Dominique Stowe and representative of the Affiliates, Ken “Kendaddy’ John spent a few days in the United States seeking the support of Vincentians living there.
Hillocks said that the trip was “very good” with many Vincentians contributing and supporting the fundraising efforts in various ways.
The chairman, however, expressed disappointment with the impact that the negative publicity sent out by some media houses here had on the trip abroad.
“We were forced to spend time answering questions and reassuring those people that the situation with football here was not as bad as was being made out by those people. They had a very bad impression of the state of football and the SVGFF and were questioning why we had come and initially expressed reservation,” Hillocks said.
“It was only after we sat at a meeting and explained to them that they felt comfortable to get on aboard and we had former national players and other prominent persons doing so.”
Hillocks said that the support, encouragement and commitment and the promise to hold more fundraising events left them confident and convinced that the trip was worthwhile.
James said that he too was disappointed by the impression that the adverse publicity was having on SVGFF and the game in SVG.
“There was one article in particular in one of our newspapers, which featured one of our past national players with a picture of him and the national coach (Cornelius Huggins) and people was concerned that the national coach was supporting such attacks on the president. But we told them that this was far from the case and that there was no problem between coach ad the president, James said.
He also said that in his opinion the attacks on president Coombs were unfair and uncalled for.
“I have known Mr. Coombs since I was playing youth cricket and I have never heard anyone say that he was a thief … I know you may have some problem with his management style in that he may do things in a particular way like spending monies or giving to people without keeping proper records, but never to take monies for himself,” James said.
“This is St. Vincent and the Grenadines and we must all make the effort to be responsible in our criticisms, [and] not just set out to get at an individual to the detriment of the sport.”
James said that with EC$1.5 million needed for the next phase of the campaign for the Russia 2018 football World Cup and they may have been able to raise about one tenth of the budget on the trip in cash and in kind.
He said that it is the intention of the LOC to have at the end of the campaign as little debt as possible, adding that they would be seeking innovative ways to do that.
He said that the team is expected to travel to the United at the end of October to get a period of acclimatisation for the Nov. 13 match against that the Support Committee in the United States is assisting in the search for reasonable accommodation, which would cut down on the budget. He said, in addition, one former national netballer will be assisting the team with clothes for the winter.
Stowe dealt with the issue of supporters jerseys and indicated that they were able to secure a “good deal” from a Vincentian owned business entity in New York and that the jerseys should be hitting the local market by month end.
While not able to give the price for the jersey, Stowe said they were of “good quality” and “good design”.
SVG will also take on Guatemala on Nov. 17 four at Arnos Vale.