'We have to be developing now' - Coley wants local talent to form Reggae Boyz base
Having been eliminated from 2018 World Cup qualifying, the development of local talent is being projected as the way forward by Miguel Coley, assistant coach of Jamaica's senior men's national football team.
Coley presided over Jamaica's final game of the campaign, a 0-2 loss to Haiti at the National Stadium on Tuesday night, as head coach Winfried Schafer has been relieved of his coaching responsibilities by the Jamaica Football Federation, while it investigates his alleged interference with a media worker.
Jamaica thus ended the campaign in the four-team semi-final-round bottom of Group B on four points, the same as Haiti, whose minus-two goal difference is better than the Boyz' minus-eight. Costa Rica topped the group with 16 points, while Panama finished second on 10.
Following the defeat, through goals scored by Haiti's Kevin LaFrance (68th) and Duckens LaFrance (88th), Coley said there is need for "introspection", before even looking towards the Reggae Boyz' next assignment of defending their Caribbean title near year end.
MUCH TO DISCUSS
"I think there is a lot of introspection, a lot of discussions to be had in terms of the overall programme. There must be a sit-down to talk about the football properly," he stated. "There are a lot of things I don't want to talk about, but there are a lot of things that need to be discussed."
Player-wise, Coley was very open.
"We have to be developing now our talents. It's a responsibility, and I want to really answer that as correctly as possible, and I just don't want to jump up and say (anything); it is a huge responsibility, and we have to do better. I have to do better. Everybody has to do better," he challenged.
Incorporating local talent in the national team has been a main point of discussion for years. A vast percentage of the regulars are players born outside of Jamaica, but with Jamaican lineage. Close to a similar portion of the starters are Jamaican-born who have secured contracts overseas. Then, there are the locals, who hardly figure.
The only time the country made it to the senior World Cup Finals - France 1998 - the core of the squad was Jamaica-based, with only four English-based additions towards the back end of the campaign.
Without specific reference to this, Coley underscored the values of formulating a foundation that is solid in quality and numbers.
"Sometimes you talk about players' availability ... and sometimes some players are not available for games, and it happens with every team, but based on the fact that our team pool is so small, it may affect us more," he assessed.
"But there are a lot of things that we have to learn from, and as I said, we can lose, but we can't lose the lesson.
"... It starts with our base. We really need to prepare players here within our country and give them the best opportunity to really excel because this is the base, and it has to be good," he underlined.