The journey of the England national football team returning
to the finals of the highest levels
of European football, which is a level below World Cup football,
has lessons for West Indies cricket
returning to the pinnacle of world cricket on a long-term basis.
Firstly, and most importantly, it took over 50 years since England last achieved those heights (winning the World Cup in England 1966). Therefore, first lesson it takes a long time
of planning and effort to get back being the best in the world consistently.
The success of the present England football team is no accident. It is built on the success of the English Premier Football League (EPL), which was built up over the years by international investors marketing television, etc, selling the entertainment of watching and participating in the best league in the world, where the highest standards of players and coaches are displayed.
This allowed the young English players (all types) to develop and be coached by the best in the world at the highest standards for years. The English coaches also have the same opportunities to match themselves against the best every day.
West Indian players became
the best in the world because we played, especially in England, day in, day out for years in the English Cricket League. Therefore, a strategy must be developed either for our players to play in the highest standards of cricket every day, or we establish such a league ourselves.
Firstly, and immediately, this has nothing to do with any government money at all. We must sell the product that we play – exciting cricket at the highest standard against the best in the world all the time, and sell that product to the worldwide audience and, just like English football, we would need international investors to own and drive the product in conjunction with local investors and Cricket West Indies.
To our players, all of them, from the aspiring ones to the present seniors, just like professional football players in the EPL or Spanish or Italian or
French championship leagues, you will be paid because of
your fitness, professionalism,
performance and behavioural standards of excellence on and off
the field of play. My final comment is
that this achievement of the England football team led by an English manager is no fluke. The England junior and senior national football teams, including the women, have been consistently improving, with positive results of semifinals, finals and winning over the last five to seven years. This is how progress towards our goals and objectives will be measured.