Why do we completely ignore our local coaches? Well, not completely ignore, but there have been far too many occasions which have left us without the local specialists in sport. There is the case of former WI all-rounder Phil Simmons, who returned home to be the WI coach after doing a fine job with Ireland.
Simmons knew what he was about and players were learning from his coaching. Of course, like most coaches who respect the value of their duties, they often find it difficult listening to people who are strangers to the art of coaching the sport, which they themselves have spent hours even years to learn.
The hard-headed members of the Cricket West Indies should have taken the time to listen to the real bosses, the players who believed that the coach is working with them and NOT for them.
When Simmons was dismissed, in his place, the administrators put their old colonial hats on their heads and made the trip to Australia to bring someone to the Caribbean to have the responsibility to coach some of the finest players in modern cricket.
They forgot all about the players’ marked improvement under Simmons. The players had even improved under former Barbadian and West Indian fast bowler Otis Gibson. The CWI even bypassed some of the world’s best cricketers whose knowledge and communication skills would have surpassed Australian Stuart Law. Their only relative success was to finally recognise that Law failed to meet the quality of coaching expected.
Let us throw our minds to another sport and another ludicrous choice of a Belgian football coach – whose name I have forgotten – whose employment was given in a hurry without even seeking to find out whether he can really do the job at all! The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association had removed the talented and highly respected Stephen Hart to bring him in, and he did not last.
Can I go further? What of the unusual situation in the Trinidad and Tobago Cycling Federation. I am still to get all the facts right.
I do recall the days when I was approached to coach our national teams and one clause in my contract placed the demand of my services to the national programme alone, leaving me to make the sacrifice of handing over my academy to my son Anton before accepting the job. I knew the commitment of working genuinely with my team was full time.
Could we ever reach the height of respect for our locals enough to let us understand that our country is well prepared and respected for international competition?
Yes! Definitely! But our principles of selecting qualified personnel must be built on solid grounds.