Thu | Jan 17, 2019

Editorial | JFF should embrace GC Foster

Published:Saturday | May 26, 2018 | 12:04 AM

We believe G.C. Foster College lecturer Dwight Angus when he suggests that the institution is capable of lifting Jamaica's football to greater heights, in similar fashion to the success it has achieved in track and field.

Now in its 38th year, the St Catherine-based G.C. Foster College of Physical Education and Sport has established a good reputation and successful track record. It has produced outstanding teachers, coaches, athletes, and sports professionals. Its Sprintec Track Club is also gaining momentum as its produces more consistent performances.

Whether their education leads to the acquiring of certificates, diplomas, or degrees, graduates of the college have improved their skill sets so they can better help to prepare athletes.

One need only examine the depth of Jamaica's track and field programme to understand that an effective coaching culture has been responsible for unlocking the enormous talent that resides in our youth, from the junior to senior levels. .

Good coaches help athletes grow and develop their skills. They teach proper techniques and devise strategies and tactics to produce winners.

Mr Angus was saying something else, too. He pointed to the fact that track and field athletes were moulded from a very early age. During the annual track and field season each year, many of these athletes enter competition and provide great moments of jubilation and celebration for their schools, fans, and families. These young athletes continue to master the fundamentals and eventually develop into powerful athletes who are ready to compete on the world stage.

Mr Angus revealed a recent Gleaner article that the college had held discussions with JFF leadership but lamented that there was no follow-up to that meeting. He said G.C. Foster was ready and waiting to help football.

The sport, which has a significant following, has been in stagnation in comparison to the dizzying heights of its spectacular foray in the 1998 World Cup. The question fans may be asking themselves is this: Is it that Jamaican footballers are performing poorly because of lack of talent, or is it that there is good talent that is underperforming? Despite Jamaica's floundering fortunes since France '98, there is a glimmer of optimism that we are now ranked 52nd in the world, the highest since 2005.


Follow the model


There is indeed a case to be made for the JFF to embrace the college as one way for local football to turn the corner and develop into a genuine force to be reckoned with. In the same way that track and field prospects start development at an early age, the same template should be tried in football.

We are aware that coaches are subject to constraints when applying their knowledge to their work. And even though the coach's ability to create value will depend on available resources, we know that a savvy coach understands how to build players with specific skills and to allocate limited resources well. These are some of the lessons that coaches would have learnt at G.C. Foster, for we vividly recall various administrators of that college complaining about the lack of resources to adequately deliver its mandate.

But the college has found a way not only to deliver relevant scholarship to those who are enrolled, but to reach out to their community to offer short courses in areas like massage therapy and weight training so that many of these participants have been able to find gainful employment in gyms, spas, and hotels.

So we hope that Mr Angus' message will find fertile ground so that football and other sports may avail themselves of the resources that reside in that little corner of St Catherine.