Put an end to scavenging - Irwin's Humphrey wants ISSA to stop big name teams from 'buying' top players
Straight-talking Dwaine Humphrey, the assistant football coach at Irwin High School, has taken the establishment to task for allowing what he calls the predatory habit of some schools scavenging better players from less recognised institutions to boost their chances of winning the daCosta Cup.
Humphrey told The Gleaner that the practice has left several schools with little chance of ever competing on a level playing field.
"I am extremely angry because these so-called top coaches and schools for whom they work are given credit for work they have not done," he said.
"How many of these coaches really can boast of taking a player from scratch and making that player a top potential? Not many can. It is the coaches who groomed these players and taught them the basics who should be given credit, and as soon as that player becomes an asset to the school, big-name coaches scavenge them away," said Humphrey.
Irwin High, known as the Group A beating stick, were put to the sword in an 8-1 mauling by Cornwall College on Saturday's opening day and then soundly thrashed 4-1 by St James High on Tuesday. They, according to the no-nonsense coach, number among such victims and he wants the body that governs local schoolboy football, the Inter-Secondary School Sports Association (ISSA), to put an end to the practice.
He said scouting is a natural part of most sporting disciplines but added that some order must be there for the rule, noting that the practice of 'buying' a player is shadowing what occurs in the professional football world.
"I may come across as a sore loser, but that's far from the truth. I believe in giving youngsters a fair chance. Small schools with limited resources cannot do that because they are always being scavenged," Humphrey said.
"It's like small, unrecognised coaches and small schools are employed to these big-name coaches and their schools. ISSA needs to take a long look at it because it cannot be fair to some schools," argued Humphrey.
In addition to the players' ability, schools from which they are 'bought' also lose a student who could help bring the school's average up.
"When you scavenge, or as they 'buy' a player, they are not just taking a footballer, they are taking away a student. How then can that be fair to these schools. What chance will that school have of becoming one of those A-Class institutions?
"They are swiping the most academically inclined players also, which cannot benefit the small schools such as the Irwins and the Anchovys," the coach said.
He noted that until schoolboy football goes professional, which, under certain statutes, will never be the case, ISSA must come up with a concrete plan to at least limit the practice to give small-name schools a chance to succeed not just in football, but through academics as well.