SPORTS TAKE: The Blue Blue State of Football

Ronald Smith
Ronald Smith

At one time or another, at every level of competition, teams or individuals standout and distance themselves from their rivals.  In recent years, the Bath Estate Football Club has been building a dynasty in local football that is comparable only to the glory days of the Newtown based Harlem team.  This year, the boys from the Blue Blue city captured their fourth Premier Division title in six seasons and at the time of publication of this article, the junior Bath Estate team was one win away from capturing the Intermediate Division championship.

For the dominant team at any level of competition proper organization, discipline and sound work ethics are factors that contribute to success. The Bath Estate community has always been blessed with a group of exciting, skillful footballers. However, the organizational structure and leadership that were necessary to complement their skills were lacking. Judging by recent successes, it is easy to conclude that the Bath Estate team is now organized into consistent pre-game preparations, and operates under a disciplined club structure that is allowing the young men in the community to maximize their talent on the football field. Unfortunately, the system under which Dominica’s premier division football champions operate is hardly one worthy of emulation.  It seems therefore, that now, talent is all it takes for a team to dominate in domestic football competitions. Have football teams and clubs in Dominica inherited the disorganized approach of the local governing body, so much so that training, discipline and proper preparation are no longer key factors for success?

The Dominica Football Association (DFA) has been faced with several challenges with football administration over the past few years.  The departure of regular football from the Windsor Park seems to have left an everlasting void, and the playing surfaces of the few venues around the country leave a lot to be desired. However, the Windsor Park issue has been with us for over ten years now. Therefore, one would expect that an organization receiving funding of hundreds of thousands of FIFA dollars annually, would have already found some innovative ways to minimize the negative effects of these infrastructural challenges. Access to suitable playing fields or lack thereof has been used as a scapegoat for the depressing state of football for the past few years. But how much influence can playing conditions have on the absence of an effective marketing campaign for the world’s most popular sport?

The ability to motivate followers is one of the most crucial aspects of effective leadership. If the DFA is to serve as a source of motivation for footballers, teams or clubs in Dominica, one can surely understand why the quality of football has declined so drastically over the years. How motivated can present and future players be after witnessing the disgraceful trophy presentation to the Bath Estate team after they clinched the title this season? How can players be adequately prepared when they are only informed of their next game a few days in advance and in most cases find out via radio? How can fans be encouraged to patronize the games when the DFA makes such a lackluster effort at promoting the sport? It is a sad tale when former national players comment that they sometimes forget that there is actually a football league taking place in Dominica. Presently, the Blue Blue city is the home of the multiple champions yet such historical achievements are going unnoticed in the Bath Estate community. This is a far cry from the pre-championship days when every football match was followed by lengthy discussions late into the night.

Although the football administration in Dominica lacks creativity, it is not all doom and gloom for football on the island. The DFA is under new leadership that promises to take the sport in a new direction with a number of programs in the pipeline. The association is promising to be more actively involved in the juvenile academies across the country by making them affiliates in order to provide funding and other technical support.  There is also a U.S Federation sponsored coaching course carded to take place in late April and an advanced medical course is planned to complement the recently held medical seminar conducted by local medical professionals.

We are all hopeful that the new direction that is being promised will allow course participants to put their newly acquired knowledge into effective use in order to bring much needed value to the sport of football.  We are hopeful that the DFA will see the need to function as a coherent and effective organizational structure that can motivate clubs to follow suit, ultimately building on the passion for the game that is evident among boys and girls around the country.  We are hopeful that our young, aspiring footballers will no longer lose their enthusiasm for the sport by the age of twenty. We are hopeful that our championship teams will serve as sources of inspiration for other football teams and teams of other sporting disciplines. The DFA is faced with the serious challenge of motivating players, officials, fans and other stakeholders of local football. If the DFA can inspire football teams in Dominica to develop into effective and sustainable club structures, a return of the excitement once enjoyed at the Windsor Park may not be too far off!

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23 Comments

  1. April 9, 2013

    chupes

  2. Football fan
    April 8, 2013

    Mr. Smith, I am very in sync with your article. I can assured you that I support football and not any football team in particular. While I believe that we live in a democratic society and people are free to share their views, I often believe that we go a little too far. We must stop that myopic characteristic and look beyond. My question is what does being a former player of Bath Estate has to do with the article? Why so much hate toward the Bath Estate team/community. Is nt Bath Estate a part of Dominica? I know my people can do better than that, because they know better. Let us go out and celebrate with Bath Estate and get back to our respective communities and get involve in team building so hopefully we can give a better account of ourselves and who knows Bath Estate may well be dethrone as champs next season. (For the good of the game)

  3. calpet
    April 8, 2013

    mr smith you failed to tell us that you once played for Bath estate hence there is an inherent bias in your article. Estate is a youngish team and its really to early to put them in the category of even saints or Celtics or Spartans most less for Kensbro Blue stars etc I not even talking about Rocks or even the greatest of them all Harlem and Combermere……..you have nt reach that titanic level….Smith make your research

    • anonymous
      April 8, 2013

      That’s all you picked up from the article?

  4. 4PEAT KINGS HARLEM
    April 8, 2013

    TRIVIA

    do you know that HARLEM is the first and only team in our History to win 4four trophies in one season ?

    Well done Bath estate you have talent but the discipline level is poor. Work on management and structure and you will go places…but I don’t think you will reach to the phenomenal levels of harlem or rocks.

  5. Doc. Love
    April 7, 2013

    Even if the DFA would inspire football teams in Dominica to develope into effective club structure where are they doing to improve their football skills.In days gone by their were many opportunities to play football at Windsor Parks and other avenues. Ronald must speak to Skerrit and Charles about bringing excitement back to Windsor Park and leave the DFA alone, it is not the problem.

  6. lime street
    April 7, 2013

    Great article mr smith. We need more of these candid and progressive comments.

  7. change
    April 7, 2013

    Well said!

  8. As I see it
    April 7, 2013

    I like their style and have been watching them for some time now. Years ago they really lacked organisation, but they sure had the best skills and discipline. I am happy for them, not only because their had work is bearing fruits, but also because I no longer support the Harlem style of football.

  9. ESTATE HARLEM
    April 7, 2013

    it seems you have conveniently forgotten J D ROCKS from the community of harlem and KENSBRO UNITED from central and also BLUE STARS from Central.

    Its so sad how quickly we forget. many of those who build the foundation for bath Estate football originated from Newtown; as a factual matter Newtown has a sizable number of its people now resident in Bath Estate. Do you know that FLY CITY is made up mainly of Harlem people. Do you know that the Fredericks originally came out of Newtown ask Flavia ( BIG DADA WIFE ) and she will tell you. Do you forget the dribbling master Bar-bie aaron ? He also came from High Street in Newtown and also BEERS. Bagio your mum was born in harlem. Star stricker Benjamin your dad played for Harlem/Spurs Football team. Don’t talk about the Gage Family; it has very deep roots in harlem and Fanny your dad was also the original Fanny Peter who was a deadly midfielder for the legendary harlem….etc etc So HarlemNewtown played a major role in the development of ESTATE FOOOTBALL. YES WE HAVE to congratulate them but they are far from reaching the levels of kensbro, JD Rocks , Blue Stars etc most less for the legendary Harlem teams of the 1970’s or 1990’s ( merger HarlemRocks ).
    THERE WILL NEVER BE ANOTHER TEAM LIKE HARLEM!!!!!
    CONGRATS TO BATH ESTATE . THE STANDARD OF FOOTBALL IS AT AN ALL TIME LOW AND THERE ARE VERY FEW STRONG TEAMS.

    • ah ha!
      April 8, 2013

      we doe come from der we jus pass thru…….
      estate for true true rtue
      either u true blue or u painted
      either way u blue….
      ya and smith….. keep dat …. upppppp

  10. Cleanbowled
    April 7, 2013

    Well done Mr. Smith on another excellent article. Oh what wonderful football memories you stir up. I fondly recall the glory days of Dominica football when our football heroes roamed the Windsor Park field, dashing, dribbling and scoring to the delight of their rabidly partisan followers. Whether you were a die-hard fan of Saints, Harlem Rovers, Combermere, Spartans, Spurs, Emeralds, Celtics, DGS or SMA, the thrill and the spectacle remain unmatched. I clearly recall my boy hood days rooting fervently for my team the Harlem Rovers / Bombers against our rivals. However, when the annual Windward Island Popham Cup Tournament came around I would shift my allegiance to each and every Dominica player regardless of his local team affiliation. Of course we know the exciting magic of those bygone days can never be recaptured. However, with some well directed funds, the DFA can help today’s talented youngsters acquire the tactical and technical training that will enable them to create their own thrilling memories while sending us passionate Dominican fans into a state of football ecstasy.

  11. concerned
    April 7, 2013

    going on bro ,keep writing the articles.bath estate to the world.as you said we have always been bless on the estate with talent ,even in our playing days.continue the good work lads .always a supporter.cedar grove rastaman

  12. wck
    April 7, 2013

    bathe estate team breaking teams and makin d other team key players cm and play for dem wen ther have enough players in d community

  13. Bouble B
    April 6, 2013

    Great piece. I also hope that the DFA executive will read that great article and put flesh on the bones of football for the up coming season.

  14. Anonymous
    April 6, 2013

    Great piece, I also hope that the DFA members can read this great article and put flesh to the bones of football here in Dominica.

  15. Ms. Brooks
    April 6, 2013

    Another great article by you Smith. Well done! Would you consider a go at serving on the exec of the DFA, given your sporting background plus your educational qualifications? Just a thought!

  16. Anonymous
    April 6, 2013

    well put together article

  17. Realist
    April 6, 2013

    On the onfield athletic success and off-field organisational prowess of the Bath Estate team, one must concur with you.

    On the many promises of the DFA, well that’s another story by itself. The wise old say says” a promise is a comfort to a fool” So its time the DFA stop promising and start delivering. Bath estate team in their formative years did not waste any time promising. They took all their effort in organising and training, nor they are of franchise quality and should be emulated by other communities and organisations including the staggering DFA

  18. real possie
    April 6, 2013

    Great piece,reading through this brought back memories of the days in portsmouth when mang rovers would take on the other teams,who would forget ann grandfather wld sit on his chair with his legs crossed every time they kick to the goal he wld kick too on his chair.Money were made then by the vendors oh how i miss those days.

  19. DA
    April 6, 2013

    Nice article…quite an interesting and positive take on Blue Blue! Please don’t get discouraged if the comments on your article are few in number. The tendency for many is to comment on trivial and nonsensical occurrences ‘beff’ as opposed to matters of relevance. I earnestly hope this trend changes.

    • Anonymous
      April 6, 2013

      We live in a beff and roro society so no change any time soon.

  20. believer
    April 6, 2013

    Another good piece, very informative…keep it up.

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