JFF scouts structured talent spotting
National football technical director Wendell Downswell says the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) will be pushing local Red Stripe Premier League clubs to have proper systems of scouting by the end of the year. This is to meet regional governing body CONCACAF's mandate of having a fully professional football structure this year.
While many local clubs, especially the semi-professional ones of the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL), may send personnel to watch games and training sessions of their rivals, these persons are not officially and specifically employed for opposition analysis or prospective player examination.
This has hampered many clubs' ability to find young talent in various transfer windows, especially those with limited financial resources.
Downswell agrees that Jamaican club football being semi-professional has hampered the ability to spot young talent.
"To find someone on a full- time basis [may be difficult]," he told The Gleaner. "We want to see the football move in such a direction that it reaches the level of professionalism. Once you get there, then these will be a requirement. So CONCACAF is really moving in the right direction as it relates to football to ensure that the proper structures are in place going forward. These are critical elements that we have now."
He said that while the JFF will be pushing the mandate, it is important that clubs cooperate in upgrading their technical structures.
"If the clubs can adopt that (setting up scouting networks), that would be good," he said, "apart from Cavalier, who have a good youth programme. That came about as a result of proper scouting - I think they have one of the most vibrant and dynamic scouting programme.
Their programme is a testimony that they are able to identify the best young talent and start nurturing them."
Downswell said that CONCACAF's mandate requires three key areas of each clubs' technical set-up.
"One is having a goalkeeper coach, another is proper trainers, and the third is scouting," he said.
"We want to make those things mandatory. If you can get these mandatory and the clubs buy into it, in terms of a concept, and seeing the importance and relevance of that, that they can have these people, whether on a part-time or full-time basis. It makes a major difference.
"If we have a good trainer, a good goalkeeper coach, in terms of the fitness of the players and people scouting, and have a vibrant youth programme, these are critical areas that we would like to implement but it comes down to the whole dreaded thing of funding," he said with a wry laugh.