Fri | Oct 19, 2018

Downswell gives RSPL coaches seal of approval

Published:Friday | August 24, 2018 | 12:00 AMRachid Parchment/ Sports News Coordinator
Young members of the Reggae Boyz team (from left) Ricardo Thomas, Alex Marshall and Kaheem Parris go through their paces during a recent training session with the national senior team at Excelsior High School.

Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) director of football Wendell Downswell, said that he is pleased with what local coaches, especially those in the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL), are doing to develop young talent across the island.

Downswell said that under these coaches, the cohort of talented young players has grown, and the national programme has benefited as a result.

"There's a great influx of young players," Downswell told The Gleaner. "If you look at the present crop of under-23 players, players who are engaged in the local national set-up, they're all Premier League players and all pretty young players."

 

Downswell's Role

 

As director of football, Downswell's role is to identify a national identity, or style of play, for the national team at all age groups. It also means that he should oversee the transition of young players from one age group team to the next, while continuing with that philosophy of playing.

He said that he is pleased to see that RSPL coaches are adopting his philosophy of focusing on youth development.

"Kudos to the coaches, because they're operating without an under-20 or under-21 structure," he said. "If we can continue along that trend with these young players, engaging at the Premier League level, it speaks volumes for our local football. We have seen some improvement in terms of the coaching. If you look at the national senior team and the players that we have there now, you can see some improvement in the local based players."

But Downswell admitted that these coaches could improve and said that the JFF was making plans for this in the near future.

"We have the B Licence coaching course coming up, and these are things that will help the coaches at the Premier League teams and some of the other elite coaches across the island," he said. "From the JFF's perspective, we are looking at other means to enhance the coaches to prepare the players so we have a greater volume of players that can compete at the international level."