Tue | Jan 22, 2019

Laurie Foster | Usain Bolt can help Jamaica's football

Published:Wednesday | April 25, 2018 | 12:00 AM

Following the reported settling of the Theodore 'Tappa' Whitmore salary issue, Jamaica's football profile will hopefully experience upward mobility. Whitmore appears on television to be a happy man, ready to do what he loves. One hopes that the compensation for the coaching and team administration staff was also addressed and resolved.

Quite apart from the glamour of qualifying for the next FIFA World Cup Finals in 2022, the wider picture of an overall development of the game ought to be on the agenda. The economic future of the country's youth, who choose football as their means to an end, is equally and in some cases more important. It is only by casting greater emphasis on this area that the talent, which has been around for decades, can attain its desired outlet.

Many pundits have stated that this piece of rock produces footballers who are among the most gifted in the world, but only up to the pre-teen age cohort.

This should be remembered at all levels of the sport's administration and form one of the bases of any move forward.

In order to get the nation's football the world wide acclaim it is deemed to deserve, the question of proper marketing and exposure, is essential.

The world accepted sporting giant, Usain Bolt, has retired from track and field competition. He continues to give live expression to the love and passion he has for his country. His acts of goodwill, benefiting so many, are threatening to top the legendary status, his deeds on the track had previously cemented.

Foster's Fairplay believes that the maestro has it within himself to draw attention to Jamaica's football in a significant and spectacular way. Why cannot the proper wheels of sponsorship be put in place to fund an initiative with Bolt as a roving marketing ambassador for the sport?


Just a phone call


This journalist is already dreaming of the legend, known to and loved by the sporting world, picking up his phone and dialling Brussels, where his imprint is on the Diamond League Final stop.

This would be the scenario, "Hello Roberto, this is Usain Bolt calling from Jamaica, when can our Reggae Boyz get a game with Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard and Kompany? (no pun intended) "OK, great, that's fine, I will inform our president, Michael Ricketts." Then he says to Ricketts, "That was Roberto Martinez, the Belgium manager , and we are on for next month."

Who else has the influence to do that? This columnist is of the firm opinion that the call can be replicated elsewhere to similar effect. One only has to believe. It is the kind of self-confidence in his ability to conquer against all odds, that got the world record holder to do an event, non-traditional for one of his stature, which placed his career on a different plane. There is no compelling reason to believe that his innate gifts can only impact on the sport in which he chose to earn a living.

There are those who might be tempted to ask if the Bolt 'dream marketing' is the only answer to the country's desires in the sport.

No, it is not, as there is one other. One is confident that even Ricketts will admit that the Craig Butler-Leon Bailey issue was not properly handled. Given the 20- year-old's show of talent in the German Bundesliga, any decision to deny him a place on the Jamaican team was an incorrect one.

A story was published last month under the SportsMax banner, which said, "Usain Bolt insists he will not encourage Bundesliga star and compatriot Leon Bailey to represent the national team as it is currently below his level."

He received some adverse comments from the adoring public. Given that he and Bailey are reported to be good friends, it is urged that he is given a chance to reshape his thinking and spearhead a project to return the matter to the bargaining table.

Come on, Usain, you are the undisputed big man. You can do it. No one comes to mind as being able to accomplish these tasks in the interest of the country to which you continue to show love and caring. One hopes that you will see it as just another big race to run and win.

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