Mon | Oct 16, 2017

The Wright View | Give locals a chance

Published:Tuesday | September 13, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Osani Ricketts (left) of Portmore United and Jamoy Sibblies (centre) of Maverley-Hughenden battle for the ball, while Portmore United's Kambuji McCalla (No.21) during the Red Stripe Premier League football match at Constant Spring Complex on Sunday. The game ended 1-1.

The football season in Jamaica is on in earnest. The two main crucibles of the future of our football got under way - the Manning and daCosta Cup competitions for schoolboys and the Red Stripe Premier League for adult males are truly up and running.

This year's competitions carry added significance because, as of the last week in August, the nation's football appears to be in a freefall.

The ignominious exit from the World Cup to be held in Russia in 2018 - losing to neighbours Haiti at home, in 'The Office' - continued a distressing trend that began in 1999, failure to qualify.

 

NO RESPONSIBILITY

 

Any objective individual, who is apprised of this fact, would realistically surmise that the architects of this seasonal failure would either walk away from administration or be removed from office by local leaders who had a scintilla of national pride and who want the best for Jamaica's football.

Not so. Not here in 'Jamdown'. Those at the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) charged with the responsibility for charting the future of national football, hunkered down, refusing to accept responsibility for defeat.

Those local leaders who decide the identity of the JFF power brokers were also aware of the facts of failure, yet doggedly refused to change the trajectory of the local programme, placing more emphasis on the amount of money garnered from their local sponsor than the future of Jamaica's football.

 

SAMEOLD SAMEOLD

 

Therefore, same old, same old ... defeat and a look at the preparation for the World Cup in 2022.

Football in Jamaica is at a crossroads. We can either continue as we have done since 1999, or we can take the fork in the road that will eventually lead us to relevance in world football.

To date, there has been no indication that any change is contemplated. Our erstwhile leader, Captain Horace Burrell, has retreated from his usual "meeting at 0100 hours" to "the JFF will decide". The coach of the Reggae Boyz, Wilfried Sch‰fer, has publicly stated that he is going nowhere, convinced that an acceptable excuse for failure is 'oops'; and the parish association presidents, who knows?

The prospect of sponsorship withdrawal from their parish league continues to be the 'attention grabber' that renders them impotent from making any 'masculine' decision.

Therefore, now that we are at the crossroads, which road will our football leaders take?

I submit that the road to take is the one that leads to the development of LOCAL talent.

Begin with field improvement, one pitch per parish and then identify a group of 30-40 players who will train together, play together and raise our international profile together.

Jamaicans have shown, decade after decade, that the talent and skill to perform at the elite level in sports resides right here at home. Just give our young men in football a chance. That is all I ask. That is all that is needed.