Vincentian football club, Avenues United FC, struggled to perform on an artificial surface in one of the two matches in the Caribbean Club Shield in the Dominican Republic earlier this month.
On April 17, Avenues, faced with a must-win situation, had to play their game against SV Real Rincon at 11 a.m., on an artificial surface.
The game was played in conditions that forced two water breaks — for players and officials — in each half.
This was because of the heat of the sun and the artificial surface.
Players and officials had to be constantly wetting their shoes with water, because of the discomfort of the heat.
Manager and Head Coach of Avenues United FC, Marvin Fraser, said that the conditions were new to his team.
“My guys are not accustomed to that but yet they were able to participate and compete,” he said.
“The Bonaire team, Real Rincon, have artificial surfaces at home so they knew what it was like. Despite that, the Real Rincon players were forced to wet their shoes at the water breaks.”
Fraser further pointed out that his team’s lack of experience of playing on such surfaces showed in the later stages of the game.
“Concentration was lost, and the substitutions made failed to adapt to the pace of the game as soon as they went in,” he said.
He said whatever Avenues United does from now on, the aim is to compete regionally and internationally.
“Our goal is looking beyond our competition here. Of course you have to win home in order to get the opportunity to represent here,” Fraser said.
He said he is looking forward to hosting foreign clubs and taking part in regional club competitions, as part of the programme to keep the players fit and focused.
Fraser spoke of a need to have football in St. Vincent and the Grenadines structured in such a way that players can go beyond 90 minutes.
“That is a problem plaguing our footballers in that after 75-80 minutes they lose focus, they lose concentration, their energy levels drop completely, and then we become susceptible to goals.
“It happens to us at a national level. We, as clubs, need to ensure that our players train and eat properly, and have that positive, professional mentality.
Fraser advised footballers in St Vincent and the Grenadines to “keep fighting, keep getting better, be somebody who is coachable, do not think that you have achieved anything no matter if somebody tells you how good you are, because when you get out there it is a totally different system.
“We need to be exposed to the environment that is out there. We have to learn to adapt. We have to learn to get serious. We have to get to the level where you are not satisfied with just being a good talent at home.
“Talent is just half of it. Hard work gets you further than talent, and so we have to have the mind frame that you have to work hard to achieve,” he said.