Dr Paul Wright: New thinking, vision for football needed
The well-researched editorial in this newspaper on November 14 this year titled 'Horace Burrell needs to shape up' has elicited the expected response/defence from the general secretary of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF).
The general secretary uses a lot of space to:
- (a) remind us of our qualification to the 1998 World Cup finals;
- (b) to gloss over the inability of the JFF to finalise 'draft' contracts with the players after months and months of 'discussion';
- (c) refuses to acknowledge the disrespect shown to a reporter (and indeed the nation) in the flippant response of the president to queries regarding a shouting match during a meeting of the squad and the president before a practice at the National Stadium prior to the home game against Panama;
- (d) blames FIFA for the lack of published financials of the JFF;
- and (e) ignores the fact that the present international rating of Jamaica done by FIFA negates the possibility of native Jamaicans of acceptable standard being able to obtain contracts to play in the prestigious English Premier League.
It should be obvious to the hierarchy of the JFF that the constant use of the formula that enabled us to qualify for the finals of the World Cup many, many years ago (use locals to qualify for the preliminary stages of the qualification competition, then travel around the world to any country where a footballer whose ancestors have a Jamaican connection and try to persuade them to represent our country a few weeks before match time) is not working and will not work.
What is needed is for the JFF to develop and BUILD local football and footballers by recognising talent, contracting them, and then giving them the opportunity to develop by playing games against superior teams.
These local footballers are more likely to have Jamaica's interest at heart when their skills are required for important games and the 'money short'.
Captain Horace Burrell has done well as the leader of Jamaica's football in the past.
We now need a new way of thinking and vision, as football in Jamaica desperately needs to identify and harness the skills paraded by our teenagers in local competitions.