A prominent local football coach says Cayman should keep Carl Brown as technical director.
‘It doesn’t make sense to keep changing technical directors when they are not the problem,’ says Ernie ‘Gillie’ Seymour. ‘Not being able to get past the first round of World Cup Qualifiers has nothing to do with them.
‘Obviously that is not a factor. The problem lies right within our clubs.’
In the last month, controversy has clouded local football. A fierce debate is ongoing as to who should be blamed for Cayman’s loss to Bermuda and how Cayman should form its national team.
Some, like Future SC Coach Roy Huta, feel the team is made up of mostly foreigners and the message being sent to youngsters is unhealthy. Others, like Seymour, say Cayman lacks the preparation and some of the clubs don’t have the right structure.
‘Some of our so-called clubs are not structured properly,’ Seymour said. ‘They do not operate under proper parliamentary procedures.
‘They don’t have a development plan to produce young Caymanian players. Players around the world are selected from their clubs to represent their countries, not vice-versa.’
Seymour went on to say that the development of the local talent has to ensure that the players are fit for gruelling matches.
‘We have to prepare our athletes to compete at the highest level for two hours. We have to build the person like a tree trunk and their torsos have to be strong.
‘Another reason we don’t succeed is because our athletes need competitive fervour. If we don’t have the fervour we won’t do well.’
‘For me football is organized warfare controlled by four officials and 17 laws. We have to build up the heart of our players to get them to appreciate the honour of competing for their nation.
‘People flock to football grounds to watch technically accomplished dynamic players. Therefore, clubs have to develop them to enhance the national teams.’
According to Seymour, a part of helping local players to develop will centre on helping them to resolve their concerns off the field.
‘Players have problems with bosses to get time off to train and play. Some wonder if they break a limb who will take care of them. Others have business and family interests.
‘The country as a whole has to support them. Are the people in the private sector, government and the football association willing to give the national teams all the tools they need to prepare them for the next stage?’
In Seymour’s mind, Cayman has the financial tools to accomplish that. Seymour says the Cayman Islands Football Association is given a subsidy by FIFA for the development of the local program over a four year period.
Seymour says each year CIFA receives US$250,000. He stated that 25 per cent (US$62,500) is given to the women’s program and the remaining 75 per cent (US$187,500) is disbursed to the senior and youth (U17, U20, U23) teams.
‘With so many rich people on this island, we still can’t get enough funding.
‘Governments and private sectors in the region have taken it for granted that the [FIFA] money will solve all issues.
‘That [money] is simply not enough to prepare all of those teams properly for international competitions.
‘What they don’t understand is they need to match that money to prepare the players properly.’
Nevertheless, Seymour feels having a technical director like Brown is an important part of building a country with a winning program.
‘Funding is not everything. Structure and the right people at the top is very important also.’
Seymour has seen more than his fair share of technical directors. He has served as the national team assistant coach, head coach for the U14, U17 and U20 national teams and an aide to technical directors for the last 20 years.
In his experience, Seymour said the technical directors have all acted with the best interest of Cayman in mind.
‘Part of the technical director’s job is to develop coaching in Cayman. I could never disrespect any of them because I’ve learned a lot from all of them. In fact, I’m still learning.’
Seymour recently attended a FA level three course in Trinidad. Seymour was there along with local coach Elbert McLean. Seymour said that experience exposed him to more coaching philosophy.
‘I’ve learnt so much more about coaching that I never knew before.’
Seymour has been a constant at the national coaching level. Cayman has seen seven technical directors during Seymour’s tenure: Winston Chung, Ayreton Brandao, Ken Foggerty, Bernard Schum, Marcio Maximo, Marcus Tinoco and Carl Brown.
For Seymour, working with these men has proved Cayman has to look elsewhere to shift the blame.
‘The technical directors have asked me for my opinion and expertise on things many times. All of those [critics] that act as if they know everything are living in another world.
‘Knowledge is power and when it is shared it will grow. We shouldn’t be fighting each other. We should be more like a good family and share our knowledge with each other for the sake of our beautiful game.’