The Grenada Football Association (GFA) says it will lobby Government and the Private Sector to grant members of the National team adequate time off from the job to engage in rigorous training sessions as the team prepares for the CONCACAF Tournament in June.
GFA President, Cheney Joseph made the plea while fielding questions at a press conference held in St. George’s.
According to Joseph, if the GFA receives the support of employers, it could have a significant impact on the preparation of the players and the outcome of the games.
The late selection of the team players has always been a source of concern among stakeholders and football fans as team players are forced to commit to their jobs as well as tedious training for tournaments.
Joseph admitted that there is some concern regarding the late selection of players to begin training for upcoming tournaments.
However, he said one of the reasons for this is lack of finances on the part of the Association.
He explained that training for one team requires an estimated $2,000.00 per week for the provision of refreshment and transportation.
The GFA President believes that if government and the private sector in conjunction with GFA can work out an arrangement to enable national players to get time-off with pay to focus specifically on their game the concern for late training can be rectified.
Joseph recalled that in the past former players like himself were given as much as eight weeks off the job to facilitate training – paid for by the employees, which he believe was instrumental in Grenada’s success in football in previous years.
“If on this occasion we can get it right by getting an understanding with employers and government to ensure that maybe our top 30 players based in Grenada can get the time off to start training. I believe it will most likely be a better result,” he said.
According to Joseph, the aim of the team is to place in the final round of the CONCACAF Tournament.
The National senior Men’s team will also be named this week together with the coach and technical staff to commence training for the CFU qualifying round starting in September in Puerto Rico.
Meanwhile, the GFA President and Director Ken Martin-Whiteman were expected to attend the FIFA Congress as well as the CFU and CONCACAF Congress in Sao Paulo, Brazil from June 7 -14.
Joseph said the local FA intends to use the meetings to seek support for the GFA development initiatives to be undertaken by CFU, CONCACAF or FIFA and to seek to establish other relations while in Brazil.
The two local officials also expressed an interest in watching some of the opening games in the 2014 World Cup.
The GFA 2014 season officially kicked off a few weeks ago with two games at Fond Cricket Stadium in St Patrick and a women’s cricket match between a St George’s all-stars team and St Patrick’s women all-stars team.
A total of 293 matches will be played throughout the season with live television coverage via FLOW and via local radio.
GFA’s Vice President, Allan James disclosed that the team for the GFA’s Inaugural Women’s League which kicks off on July 5 is expected to be named.
Eight teams throughout the tri-island would be selected for the League and each team selected would be afforded a technical support staff of four comprised of a Manager, coach, physiotherapist and trainer.
All equipment for the League including uniforms is sponsored by FIFA.
A Women’s Festival sponsored by FIFA for girls’ age six to twelve is carded for July in St Andrew, August in Carriacou and September in St David.
James said that after these events are completed, FIFA would distribute additional funds and equipment to the GFA to enable the additional activities in other parishes.
The national Under-20 team and the technical staff are also expected to be named to begin preparation for a tournament in Aruba.