Sat | May 25, 2019

Laurie Foster | Put pats on the back on hold

Published:Wednesday | November 14, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Trudi Carter of Jamaica is hugged by Michael Ricketts, president, Jamaica Football Federation, during the medal presentation of the Concacaf Caribbean Women’s World Cup qualifiers at the National Stadium in September.
Jamaica's Reggae Girlz

As is frequently the case in sporting and other competitive endeavours, success has its downside. At a time when Jamaica's female football should be counting its blessings at having qualified for next year's FIFA World Cup, a squabble looms as to which entity contributed most significantly to this historic achievement.

Just last week on a local television programme, viewers were made to endure a presentation by none other than Michael Ricketts, the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) president, claiming to have "almost exclusively" charted the way to qualification. Is now the right time for this type of controversy? It was inappropriate and self-serving, coming at the time it did.

With the one-year-old Ricketts' regime still to receive its own mandate, Foster's Fairplay believed the remark to be nothing more than an electioneering ploy and not in the best interests of the team's chances of further advance. There should be no lack of focus at this point, and it is the view of this column that statements like that can promote a disunity among stakeholders that can prove destructive to the required outcome. This is what Foster's Fairplay is trying to avoid.

The JFF should consider itself fortunate to have found a cadre of coaches and team administrators who could have inspired the Girlz to this point. Team leader Hue Menzies led a pack for which the highest commendation is due. That is what should be of paramount importance in the corridors of the JFF. The question as to who did what to make it all a reality might be interesting round -able talk, but it should be placed on hold for the time being.

It cannot be overstated, going forward, that more effort is needed to complete or further advance the dream. The fact that they are motivated is demonstrated by the post-tournament experience of them doing their own private rendition of the nation's national anthem. Who would want them to be sidetracked with so much still at stake?

As a priority, there should be genuine attempts to take the best squad on to France to compete at the bigger party. Additionally, camps should be arranged to further prepare and the funds to stage them should be a top of the list items. Foster's Fairplay would like to see this aspect being stressed and not the ongoing conversation regarding who should receive a pat on the back or a plot of real estate midway the real objective, which should be to do the very best on the world stage.

Foster's Fairplay is of the view that too much time is spent on extraneous matters and not enough on what remains to be achieved. The comparison of the women's achievement and that of the Reggae Boyz should remain at bettering the performance of the latter. If that is achieved by greater glory at the final stages, then there will be time enough to hand out the necessary handshakes to those who deserve to be so recognised.

Until then, just strong focus should be the password to further honours.

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