Best players play in my team – Schafer
National senior men's football head coach, Winfried Schafer, says only the best players are good enough to play for him, and if local players are better than their overseas-based counterparts, then they will play.
"The best players play in my team. (If) The local players are better than overseas players, yes, they play," he noted.
In line with his reasoning, Schafer asked: "How many local players go out in the last two years from Jamaica to play overseas?
"Kemar Lawrence, Alvas Powell, Andre Clennon are local players; they go out and are not local players now, and it is good for the football in Jamaica when the players go out and bring money back. When they go out from here, money comes back to the clubs and the clubs have more money to grow better infrastructure," he said.
Schafer called up 24 local-based players to camp on Monday in preparation for their March 25 World Cup Qualifier against Costa Rica. However, camps of this type are not unusual ahead of World Cup qualifiers or international matches and tournaments. What is common is seeing local-based talent restricted to warming the bench, rarely getting the opportunity to get a taste of international competition.
One domestic player who has been impressive this season is Arnett Gardens playmaker, Vishunul Harris, who is away with his team participating in the CFU Club Championship in the Dominica Republic.
Asked to comment on the talent, Schafer said: "Harris, he is a good player, I have seen him. Probably, yes (will be in squad), but not only him. But I don't know we have time. They (local players) have to learn," observed Schafer.
He added that having locals trained by the national coaches will lead to overall development.
"We have many good talent in Jamaica, and we want the talent to be good players as we need good players. We want the local players, in training so we can make the local players better. The local players see the head coach of the national team and his interest, it is good for him, the country and development while training," the German coach said.
"Our training is good for local players, it helps build their confidence and helps to make them better," he reasoned.
SQUAD: Andre Vassell, Andrew Vanzie, Ronaldo Rodney, Allan Ottey, Jermaine Woozencroft, Andre Dyce, Ricardo Morris, Upston Edwards, Jamie Robinson, Omar Daley, Damano Solomon, Rohan Roye, Jason Moore, Mark Miller, Chevonne Marsh, Hughan Gray, Shaven Sean Paul (GK), Rosario Harriott, John-Ross Edwards, Vishunul Harris, Swayne Thomas, Amal Knight (GK), Ramone McGregor and Nicholas Campbell (GK). The training camp started Monday and ends today.
- L. S.