Treat schoolgirl football better - coaches
In light of heavy investment in local schoolboy football from corporate Jamaica, some coaches of schoolgirl teams believe that they should be treated better.
Wisynco and Digicel were this week announced as the new sponsors for the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) Manning Cup, daCosta Cup, Walker Cup and Ben Francis
Cup competitions, with over $100 million in sponsorship committed over the next three years.
Dane Chambers, coach of seven-time ISSA/Locker Room champions Lennon High, is calling for more support for the local schoolgirl football league and believes this is important towards the development of the national women's programme.
"The women football on a whole should be treated better. They are getting recognition
in terms of the national programme with Jamaica competing in Under-15, Under-17, Under-20 and senior international competitions. We know that football is a man sport, so the females have to work harder. But it is on the rise. It takes finance to develop the players," Chambers told The Gleaner.
"However, it begins at the schoolgirl level, so they need investment. I am not saying that they should be treated on the same level as male players, but more should be done. It must be encouraged at the schoolgirl stage as the platform for development in Jamaica," he added.
"We have lost many of our schoolgirl stars because they get frustrated and don't want to continue. If you don't encourage them at that stage, they don't want to play anymore. They think nothing is in it for them," Chambers shared.
"I am not saying that they must get the heavy investment, but at least 20 per cent of what is put into schoolboy football would be good for the schoolgirl competition," he added, before pointing to scholarship opportunities as the only current motivating factor.
"I encourage my girls to move on and try to motivate them by getting scholarships overseas. If we treat them better financially, we will get better products."
Chambers also admitted that ISSA finds it difficult to sell the competition to potential sponsors.
"Probably ISSA should do more but I think they are doing what they can. The female football should be marketed better. But sponsors are not willing to come on board," he concluded.
Coach of defending schoolgirls champions Excelsior, Xavier Gilbert, also feels that more can and should be done for local schoolgirl football.
"It is not a unique situation, it is worldwide - women sports in general. Schoolgirls football is still in an early stage. It is not a easy product to sell. I do understand but would love to see schoolgirls football treated better," Gilbert weighed in.