Mon | Sep 25, 2017

Letter of the day: Playing football on dust bowls and cow pastures

Published:Friday | September 25, 2015 | 9:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

The local football season is on, and both the schoolboy competition and the Red Stripe Premier League have been heating up with excitement. I can't help but notice the appalling and deplorable playing surfaces on which the games are being played, especially in the schoolboy football competition.

I watched snippets of the match between Inswood High and St George's College on television on Tuesday, and I was very taken aback to see the condition of the field on which the game was being played. I am sure there are many other fields like that - and even worse. The condition of the field is alarming and upsetting. The field reminds me of a dust bowl where I used to watch young men playing six-a-side football an open lot not far from where I used to live in the country. It was more like a cow pasture.

I don't know how on God's Earth we expect to develop our local players to world-class standards with these types of playing conditions! No wonder our national coaches are always seeking players from overseas to represent the country and are always complaining that the local players are not at the level required to represent the country.

On a television sports programme on Tuesday, guests Omar Daley, who has recently returned from playing football in Scotland and is now playing for Portmore United; and Newton Sterling, who played in Trinidad and is now at Arnett Gardens, were asked what they thought were the most difficult challenges they had encountered in trying to resettle in the local league.

Both men said the poor quality of the fields was their biggest issue. Daley went on to say, "To tell you the truth, it is depressing to play on the field out here, and if you think about the field, you would never want to finish the 90 minutes." Sterling said that the Jamaican football league was better but noted that facilities in Trinidad were far superior.

Football is big business all over the world and is an area of opportunity where young people can make a good life for themselves and their families by snagging contracts overseas. If we as a country are serious about investing in our youth, then we have to find the will to do the things necessary to create the environment that enables the full potential of our people to be realised. If we are doing so well without the requisite facilities, just imagine the greatness we could attain if we had proper facilities!

We need to stop being shortsighted as a nation. Let us do the things that will move the country and our people forward!

Aubyn Perkins

Spanish Town

St Catherine