Qualified opinion: Brown takes aim at BFA
Suitably qualified coaches in the national academy remains an issue of concern for the Bermuda Football Coaches Association.
Richard Todd, the president of the BFCA, raised concerns at the annual Congress meeting at Devonshire Recreation Club last week. A few days later, Dennis Brown, a member of the BFCA executive, weighed in during a posting on Facebook, urging accountability and responsibility.
“How can we move football forward in this island if there is such a divide between the BFA and the BFCA on such a simple [in my mind] question on the criteria on the hiring of National Academy coaches,” Brown wrote on the weekend.
Brown, a former Bermuda captain and coach, did not attend the Congress meeting, as Todd and Maceo Dill represented the coaches group. However, he expressed concerns about coaching within the game, with the Bermuda Football Association planning to go ahead with sanctions against clubs who don't have senior coaches with the required “B” licence.
“Watching the meeting [on video] and hearing the rationale of how they came to these decisions was appalling,” Brown said in reference to the hiring of qualified “B” licence coaches for the national youth teams.
His, and the BCFA's, gripe is that while there are 24 “B” licence coaches, only two are in the academy — Kyle Lightbourne and Aaron Denkins. Cecoy Robinson, the Bermuda Under-15 coach, is preparing for the “B” licence.
“I would like to thank Richard Todd and Maceo Dill for their representations of club affiliates and coaches,” Brown wrote. “If it is not personal, what is it? To have 24 ‘B' licence coaches — make that 23 because I'm not interested — and select inexperienced, unlicensed coaches at the academy should raise some eyebrows.
“Country must come first before self-gratification. People get too defensive when asked questions in reference to what is in the best interest of football on the island. To many looking at the current BFA set-up, it looks like a bunch of friends, ace boys running the association. I would still hold my friends accountable and responsible if they were running the organisation. Accountability and responsibility.”
Brown added: “Sit around a table and discuss what is in the best interest of football in the island. Agree to disagree and respect other people's opinions because no one has all the answers. But with more collaboration, we can move football in this island forward.
“Until then, it will always be us and them, and that will be a sad indictment on the future of football in Bermuda. To not have a review on players who were suspended due to gang affiliations is questionable.
“What if a player has distanced himself away from those activities during the year? A round-table discussion needs to be held with experienced coaches/affiliates, along with association members to find solutions to many areas that need improvement.
“This is not just at the senior level. In the youth leagues you see lots of inappropriate behaviours which should be dealt with expeditiously. Let's put personal feelings aside in the best interest of football and sit down like men to bring this game to where it should be.”
Speaking further to The Royal Gazette yesterday, Brown emphasised that guidelines needed to be followed. “The biggest concern, which is not a personal concern, but a concern of the Bermuda Football Coaches Association, is the criteria to choose national academy coaches,” Brown said.
“There are 24 ‘B' licence coaches available to the academy and only two certified ‘B' licence coaches, Kyle Lightbourne and Aaron Denkins. That's a major concern of the Bermuda Football Coaches Association and its members. You need to have the best coaches coaching the best players in your country and, at present, that is not happening.
“Nothing personal against the coaches at the academy, but it is our responsibility as the executives of the coaches association to find out what is the criteria. To hear the answer of the Youth Technical Director [Maurice Lowe] is not acceptable.
“The players in the academy are missing out on a lot of experience and information from coaches who have been overlooked.
“My suggestion would be for the BFA to sit down with the Bermuda Football Coaches Association, and we're willing to do so, and talk it out. It will be good for football in Bermuda. It's not a personal gripe against Maurice Lowe or Mark Wade; this is for the betterment of football in this country.”
The BFCA has coaches within its ranks such as Todd, Dill, Andrew Bascome and Larry Smith. “That's years and years of experience that can assist the national academy,” Brown said.
“Larry coached Andrew and me, and that's one coach I respect — a man who has a wealth of knowledge that is not being tapped into by the academy.”
Wade, the BFA president, did not return calls yesterday.