By Neto Baptiste
Football coaches within the sports ministry have been summoned to a meeting on Thursday morning with the Minister of Sports Daryll Matthew and other officials.
This was confirmed by Matthew who said the meeting will seek to clarity to issues surrounding the roles and responsibilities of the coaches.
“There has been a lot of feedback in the media and also in the general public about concerns related to inter-schools football in terms of how it’s managed and how it’s going on. There is also some concern from within the ministry about how some coaches may be approaching the job, and so I decided to call a meeting with the coordinator [Rowan Benjamin], the Director of Sports [Heather Samuel Daley] and the coaches, which will take place this Thursday,” he said.
The meeting comes on the heels of public debate and, in some instances, scrutiny, over concerns that some coaches may be neglecting their duties by not turning out for scheduled sessions with some schools.
The issue, which was first brought to light on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, was recently addressed by the coordinator of schools football, Rowan Benjamin, who revealed that the ministry was aware of those coaches who were not turning out for scheduled sessions.
Matthew is hoping that the pending meeting could shed some light on the matter as they seek to address any issues which may be affecting the smooth running of the programme.
“Of course, not everything we hear being bandied about is factual, even though there may be some concerns … where there is smoke, there is fire and so to get a better understanding of what the situation is on the ground — if there are issues, what are the issues and how do we address them going forward –because, at the end of the day, the student athletes cannot be allowed to suffer and the sport cannot be allowed to suffer. That is what we are seeking to address,” the minister said.
Asked if the schools would be included in the discussions, Matthew said all stakeholders would need to work together once Thursday’s meeting is successful in identifying any loopholes and or shortcomings in the system.
“The schools have to be an integral part of the discussions long term. We will assess internally what is going on and if it is that we identify that the engagement between the schools and the sports department is not optimal, then it is something we need to fix, and that fix has to go through the principals, the Director of Education and others within the Ministry of Education,” the sports minister said.
The Jennings Secondary School, in particular, has forfeited a number of matches in the ongoing programme while there have been reports that some coaches have not been turning out for sessions at some schools.
There have also been concerns over coaches and, sometimes, even students from the competing schools, having to officiate matches due to a lack of qualified referees.