Kwesi Mugisa, Staff Reporter
Evan Taylor ... following in the footsteps of Ricardo Gardner?
WHILE IT is expected to be a rocky road for local players looking to force their way into the national team, at least a few seem to have managed to worm their way into the thoughts of technical director René Simoes.
A sharp increase in the number of overseas-based players invited to don the Reggae Boyz jersey, which went from 14 in the first couple of friendlies to close to 20 in the most recent encounter, is a strong indication that these players will form the bulk of the national squad as it pushes for a spot in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Discovery of players
However, despite the discovery of about 40 players on his recent sojourn to the United States and United Kingdom, some local players like midfielder Rudolph Austin, defender Keniel Moodie, recalled Jermaine Taylor, Adrian Reid and O'Brian Woodbine seem to have done enough to make themselves a part of Simoes' plans, well at least for now, with one week to go to the start of the World Cup qualifiers.
In fact, with quite a few outstanding games in the black, green and gold for the Reggae Boyz, Austin, a player described as "outstanding" by Simoes, seems almost a lock to maintain first team honours.
However, most recently it was the discovery of another youngster, Evan Taylor, that had local football buzzing with expectation.
A tough-tackling central midfielder from Godfrey Stewart, Taylor made a huge impression on the technical director when the Reggae Boyz took on a western All-star team a few weeks ago. Invited to train with the Boyz, the schoolboy was impressive enough to eventually secure a surprise spot in the starting 11 against St. Vincent and the Grenadines at the National Stadium on Tuesday night.
Taylor played more than 70 minutes for Jamaica in a 4-1 win, prompting many to wonder if Taylor's discovery will be similar to that of then Wolmerian schoolboy and current captain Ricardo Gardner.
"In front of so many people on his debut for the Reggae Boyz you would think he would be nervous but he just played football." said Simoes of Taylor.