Tue | Feb 21, 2017

We're not really watching football, are we?

Published:Monday | October 13, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Have you ever watched a Red Stripe Premier League game? You're not always missing much.

I love football, always have, always will. And the top local league has made improvements, from the overall infrastructure of clubs to the implementation of a Monday prime-time game. Some fields still need work and the attendance at games by the general public needs to improve. Don't get me wrong, there are teams with supporters who will follow them all the way to Timbuktu to watch them play. But I suppose others who take in a game or two occasionally are probably waiting for the general level of play to improve.

Speaking of the standard of play and people watching the games, I'm convinced our local players aren't really watching their internationally acclaimed counterparts when they play. Some forwards, as soon as they get the ball, depending on where they are, they shoot. No question, no hesitation, kick di ball! However, too many of our local 'ballers', in the same position, decide we have to 'shif' one defender, 'dash weh' another one, and 'buss a dance' before shooting. Of course, by the time the player does shoot, assuming he ever does, it's wide of the post, over the crossbar or saved by the keeper. Waste of a perfectly good chance.

Bad defending

Even when we're shooting at goal, we don't do it right. The pros aim to the side of the goal where the keeper is NOT standing. Our defending ain't much better? We feel we have to foul the attacker to stop him or make a last-ditch tackle to save the day. The world's better defenders stay on their feet and force the dribbler to work some magic (which most of them can't). Or better yet, they intercept the ball before it even gets to the attacking player, because they read the game. And don't get me started on the basics like controlling the ball and seeing the pass before you even get the ball. We nuh know bout dem tings deh!

Of course, we as fans don't help. And I say 'we' because I've been guilty of it myself. As wi see a likkle boy look like him can dribble, we call him Messi. As another one kicks one shot very strongly, we call him Ronaldo. If another looks like he's strong in the midfield, we call him Yaya Toure. That can get to a youngster's head very quickly. The more mature ones will already know they aren't anywhere near finished. Others will need a good smack around the ears (figuratively or literally) to be brought back in line.

So young ballers and coaches, mi a beg unnu. When you sit in front of your TV/tablet/whatever, 'watch' the ball game, make notes and then try it fi yuhself. Di ball game will get betta, trust me! More time!

Kick it around with me at daviot.kelly@gleanerjm.com