Sun | Sep 24, 2017

The Wright View: Powell’s stroke of genius

Published:Tuesday | May 3, 2016 | 5:00 AM
Powell

Congratulations are in order for Montego Bay United (MBU), for their victory in Sunday's final of the Red Stripe Premier League.

The coach, Paul 'Tegat' Davis, and the players deserve victory as they outplayed fellow finalists Portmore United on the field in wet conditions. But what about the input of the real leader of MBU, Orville Powell?

In assessing his role in the victory of a franchise that has reached its third final in three years, I am reminded of a quote I read some years ago from a Chinese philosopher, who is best remembered for his book - The Art of War - where he writes about how to subdue the enemy without fighting.

Sun Tzu said: "All men can see the tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved."

After winning the competition in 2014 and losing in 2015, Mr Powell realised the importance of the '12th man' - the fan support in finals. He got a part of his wish when the administrators of the sport decided to have the final in Montego Bay, the home town of his team.

What apparently irked him was the decision of the administrators and the sponsors to have the game played at 4 p.m. on Sunday WITHOUT any input from any member of the MBU hierarchy, who, presumably, knows some-thing about the likes and dislikes of their fans.

Mr Powell's attempts at having the time changed failed. So his Plan B seemed to include how to minimise the support of his adversaries.

 

VOCAL 12TH MAN

 

The answer? Easy. Place enough doubt in the minds of supporters of Portmore United as to whether the match would be played and force them to decide on the wisdom of spending scarce resources in attending a match at the other end of the island that might not take place at all!

The result: sparse attendance by Portmore fans and a vocal and powerful 12th man that inspired local hero, Dino Williams, to score the 88th-minute goal that gave the home team the title.

Few saw the strategy out of which victory evolved. I have no doubt that the wounded egos of the organisers and administrators of football in this country will guarantee that Mr Powell, and indeed, the team and fans of Montego Bay United, will be sanctioned.

However, in my opinion, that will be a very small price to pay for the victory that occurred on Sunday night.

To reach the final of the premier football competition in the island three years in a row and to win it twice is not an easy accomplishment. The architects of victory MUST be suitably and amply rewarded.

In this regard, local footballers who STAY and play their football here (some eventually getting overseas contracts that improve their game) must be afforded the opportunity of playing for their country, a strategy that will enhance the importance of the local competition in the eyes of the paying public, instead of turning to so-called 'Plastic' Jamaicans, whose only allegiance to football in Jamaica is to play in the World Cup.

To the Jamaica Football Federation, I say sanction Mr Orville Powell (and MBU) all you want, but understand that the ONLY way to improve local football and to get us back to the World Cup Finals is to invest in local footballers from the time they leave the Under-19 level and stop relying on 'Plastic' Jamaicans, who, once we are eliminated from World Cup Qualifying competition, are never heard from again, until ...!

Well done, MBU. Well done, rural Jamaica. There is indeed good football being played outside of the Corporate Area.