THE EDITOR, Sir:
I would like to commend the Reggae Boyz on their advancement to the next round of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. It's been a very nervous journey for fans like me who knew it could have easily slipped out of our hands. Fortunately, the last games worked in our favour.
While I am elated that we have made it to the next round, I am cautious and curious about changes in attitude and strategies that must be employed if we are to make it to the World Cup. I have noticed that the Jamaican soccer fans are very disloyal, but very opinionated.
They are quick to throw the team under the bus and criticise coaches and players. Our fans appear similar be bandwagonists, quick to say, "Yeah, yeah, Jamaica is my team" as long as things are going well, but as soon as the team stumbles, they are nowhere to be found. The National Stadium appeared very scanty for the final game between us and Antigua, for example.
In some countries, fans are loyalists, supporting their team through thick and thin. What's up with Jamaicans? I attended a Honduras-Jamaica soccer match at the Red Bulls Stadium last year and was shamed by the support of Hondurans compared to Jamaicans.
With this said, I want to again commend coach Theodore 'Tappa' Whitmore for what he is doing as a home-grown, Jamaica-born coach. Tappa and his crew have received a lot of criticism because of his team selection and game strategy. There have been calls for him to be replaced when he doesn't live up to subjective expectations, yet when he wins, he is a hero.
Our country needs to produce more Tappas who will succeed him when the time comes. Jamaicans need to stop the sell-out mentality.
The fact is, for a local coach to be taking our team to this level of competition, this is progress. We need to encourage and support our own. Yet Tappa cannot become complacent; the next round will carry greater competition and stiffer challenges.
I feel that lack of urgency could have been our downfall in the last round. We did not have a must-win attitude against the US and were content to settle for a draw with Antigua in the first game they played. The coach's attitude and strategy have to be perfected for the next round.
In summary, good luck to the team! And loyalist fans, please, stand up, please, the team needs you.