No easy task!
Burrell says it takes more than a miracle to qualify for World Cup
Kwesi Mugisa, Staff Reporter
Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) boss, Captain Horace Burrell, has warned the nation not to expect miracles when it comes to consistently qualifying for the FIFA World Cup, as odds are consistently stacked against the team based on the resources invested in the programme.
Since the historical appearance of the team at the 1998 World Cup in France, Jamaica's Reggae Boyz have struggled to make any significant impact on subsequent qualification campaigns.
The team has managed to make the final round in only two of the four subsequent qualifiers and even in the 2002 and 2014 versions, when the Boyz did find themselves numbered among the region's final six, the team finished in second to last and last spot, in respective campaigns.
"People have been saying we are our worst enemies, because we should not have qualified for the World Cup in 1998. I say 'no', I cannot agree with that," Burrell said.
"World Cup qualification is a competitive environment. No country has the right to continue to qualify for the World Cup, I think we are doing the best that we can."
The JFF boss pointed to the levels of investment made by the teams that have had the most success in recent times - Mexico , the United States and to a lesser extent Costa Rica and Panama.
Burrell stressed that it was increasingly difficult to compete with those teams, which have not only developed better infrastructure, but competed in friendly internationals, a key part of preparing teams for competition on their own terms.
"It is not easy, we are playing against countries whose economies are way ahead of ours. Competing against Mexico, for instance ... when you look at their football budget it is almost as huge as the national budget of Jamaica, believe it or not.
"I was speaking with the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) president and he said to me that money in terms of their football development is no issue; they have funds to do anything they want to do as it relates to football," he related.
"They can travel to play any day of the week anywhere to play anyone they want, that is the size of their budget. In Mexico it is similar, in Costa the same. They are just way ahead."
Figures released by the USSF indicated expenses related to the country's national soccer teams for 2014 stood at US$50,823,920 (J$5,704,985,020).
Last year, the JFF received somewhere in the region of $30,000,000 from the Sports Development Foundation.