Sunday 30th July, 2006

 

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Dr Karen Moore

Clinical child psychologist

And so to my final chapter on the Soca Warriors and I find myself ending with what should be the beginning of all things: vision.

A favourite book of mine, Jonathan Livingstone Seagull, contains the quote: “You must begin by knowing you are already there.” This is a beautiful statement of vision. Too often, in so many enterprises, including sport, we begin at the wrong end. A sports programme begins with vision. Where and how far do you want your players to go?

Coaches must have this vision. A team coach must know what the goal is for his or her team, what it takes to achieve that goal and how a well-prepared team should look. The coach must have a realistic idea of the capabilities of every member of the team and the capabilities of the team as a whole.

When Leo Beenhakker decided that our team could get to the World Cup, he could draw on his experience of having worked with teams at that level and he could compare our boys to what he had seen. Because of that, the team could trust his vision that they could qualify and over time it became theirs as well. But they needed the vision of someone who had been there and could show them the way.

There’s another kind of vision that is needed. This is the vision that sees potential in undiscovered players. This is why local players were picked to be part of the Warriors and why Beenhakker felt he could reach the World Cup with a group of largely unknown players, only one of whom was playing for a First Division team in the UK.

He saw in them what other coaches and managers had missed. More importantly, he made every team member see it in himself. It was no accident that the commentator for the match against England remarked that, although Chris Birchall was playing against First Division players whom he called his heroes, he was himself playing like a First Division man.

In our first game, no-one felt that our team, with ten men, could withstand the combined might of so many top European league players on the Swedish team. But that’s the night our boys showed everyone that they knew they were First Division material. That’s the night everyone began to respect Beenhakker’s vision.

I would be remiss if I ended without acknowledging another man’s vision: Jack Warner. He bankrolled the World Cup preparations to a large extent. He was also the one who persuaded Beenhakker to coach the team. He was clearly a man driven by the vision that the time was now. Because it was powered by that vision, and those two visionaries, the team’s way was made clear.

The power of vision and of those who believe in their vision. Action, not words. In case anyone is listening, that is how you make 2010, 2020, and any other year you like, happen.

Now.

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