Football - ‘Federation must act now to save our football,’ says St Michel club secretary Delpeche |21 April 2020
The St Michel management has expressed their concern at the current impasse in our football in an interview on how they foresee the future of our national sport.
Speaking to Sports NATION in an exclusive interview, St Michel FC’s secretary Michael Delpeche echoed the views of his club and most football lovers in this country.
“We are urging the Seychelles Football Federation to meet with the club representatives of each division so that we can draw a roadmap once we are given permission to re-start, but it seems that most federation executive committee members are not even concerned with the current plight of our national game which is in stark contrast to when there is election for office bearers when they all keep calling to try and seek our vote,” revealed the St Michel club secretary.
The St Michel club official feels that it would be wrong for the federation to wait until the go ahead is given by the department of health to start working on the way forward as it will be too late by then with severe consequences on the clubs which are on the brink of closure.
Mr Delpeche went on to say that he is of the view that there are so many things which are of concern to clubs as a result of the coronavirus pandemic which need to be discussed as well as the conclusion of the league and devise a format for the following season.
“One of the burning questions for clubs is the issue of foreign players where we have sent our documents to the federation to see if they qualify for the government financed relief programme but up to date we have not received any response and this is very frustrating. We also must talk about how we complete this season and then what format we will have for next season where I think it will be a much shorter season, but at the moment, we are in limbo as the federation is not responding to our demand for a meeting though we feel we must have a plan which we activate as soon as the lockdown regulations are relaxed,” claims Mr Delpeche.
The St Michel representative added that they would want to see the federation also engage with the government to find ways and means to save our football as well as other sports which are in dire straits.
“If the Federation doesn’t start planning for its re-start, we might find that the whole season is scraped because we don’t have a plan in place and if it doesn’t provide the financial assistance it promised, it will not be easy for the clubs as all of them will not be able to rely on sponsors in this financial crisis,” remarked the league leaders’ secretary.
Nonetheless, Mr Delpeche said that as club, St Michel FC have made available a training programme for their players on a daily basis as well as discussed the necessity of a pay cut for their foreign players of around 50% as of this month though they will continue to provide accommodation to these players.
“If there is any possibility to complete the league season, we would like to see that happen but we also have to talk about the contracts of the foreign players which expire in June and more importantly if clubs will have the money to afford for their salaries are matters to think about. I also don’t see matches taking place before June which complicates things for clubs and I don’t think playing behind closed doors is a viable option. However, it would be nice to see this season’s league race decided as it has been one of the closest with four or five teams still in with a shout to win it though at the moment we hold a three-point lead,” claimed Mr Delpeche.
Mr Delpeche added that his team are keen to claim this league title for the sake of some of their senior players such as captain Alex Nibourette and Nelson Laurence who are contemplating hanging up their boots at the end of this campaign and as well as for young guns, namely Jimmy Bijoux and Julio Brown who have been players who have shown remarkable improvement this season for the Airtel Cup winners.
“We are top of the league standings because we have been consistent with our results though not with our performance and we have a solid and stable defence which has been the cornerstone of our success this season where the players have shown more seriousness though most of the leading clubs have quality players,” Mr Delpeche told Sports NATION.
But for the time being, Mr Delpeche is more focused on the federation coming together with the clubs to set up an action plan for the coming months to save our football which is a source of such enjoyment and a pastime for a lot of our football crazy population.
“I suggest that we do all in our means to wrap up the remaining fixtures but then we need to shorten the 2020-2021 season so that we can make up for lost time and then we can have a full season in 2021-2022 season, but sadly, at the moment, the federation is not communicating with us to plan for the future as our beloved sports is surely expected to suffer badly if there are no financing and a well-worked schedule. Therefore we must act now before it is too late,” the record league winners club secretary Delpeche stated to Sports NATION in conclusion.