Wed | Jul 18, 2018

Captain must bear blame

Published:Saturday | September 10, 2016 | 12:00 AM


The dream of Jamaica playing in another World Cup Finals has died, and I dare say even before it started. I'm sure the process of scapegoating is well at hand. But will Captain Burrell and the JFF leadership fall on their swords and resign?

Why? Because the trajectory of Jamaica's football is directly related to the absence or presence of a clear vision, plans, and processes. The trajectory has been downward since 1998. Such a vision, properly sold to the nation, bought into by corporate entities, that makes clear connections between football played at primary and prep level through to ISSA and into a national programme is lacking. It is no longer plausible to dream of making the next World Cup without a clearly defined process impacting the nature and brand of football at all levels.

What is the plan?

Iceland, with a population of fewer than 400,000, had a plan, and in just over a decade, they made an impact at Euro 2016. The comparison of wealth may be used as an excuse, but it doesn't discount that they had a plan, they were clinical and precise in the execution of that plan. The same cannot be said of the JFF.

Captain Burrell's dream of making another World Cup is not the same as a vision that rigorously connects the dots at all levels and creates a seamless process over the national product. It is nothing more than the Pied Piper, playing a fanciful tune, that catches the ear for an easy dance, and then what?

I ask the following questions, related to Jamaica's participation in the Gold Cup, Copa AmÈrica and FIFA qualifiers: How many goals did we score? How many goals did we concede? Is there something unique and dynamic about Jamaica's system of play? What defines the brand and nature of our football? Where is the sustained work that has led to the development of good playing surfaces since 1998?

The answer to these questions may well cause us to accept that there is something empty and ridiculously facile surrounding the clamour about making the next World Cup. Such a vision and process should have been rigorously started post-1998. Such a process may also require a rigorous re-examination of daCosta and Manning Cup football to redefine their fitness for purpose in the shaping of a seamless philosophy and brand of Jamaican football from the ground up for the future.

In the interim, Captain Burrell should say, "Mea culpa." I won't hold my breath. Captain and the JFF can't escape full responsibility.