THE EDITOR, Sir:
Tuesday night I was sitting here in Costa Rica, of all places, watching my adopted Jamaica play in a World Cup Qualifier. As the pictures streamed through, I could not believe what I was seeing - a stadium of mainly empty seats.
My initial reaction was, where is the public's support? I know Jamaicans, in general, love jumping on the bandwagon of winners, quickly forgetting about the losers. A player coming out of the tunnel to such a sight must have found that completely disheartening. This was the Reggae Boyz's last-ditch attempt to stay alive in qualifying for Brazil next year.
I blame the Jamaican Football Federation (JFF) and the sports minister. I always see the minister, front and centre, when the big events roll around. Is she out in the streets driving support for occasions like this, helping and supporting teams and events back home, not just abroad?
Did the JFF not see that sales were slow? Did it cut prices? Why weren't its agents downtown, or at Half-Way Tree, giving away tickets? Going to the schools and giving away tickets to students, parents and teachers?
It was only a short time ago we saw what good promotion and cheap ticket prices can do for an event. I'm sure everyone either heard or read about how big a success the recent Twenty20 matches at Sabina Park were.
The bigger picture
If only they would look at the big picture, by trying to give their national team a full stadium and vendors/concessionaires people in the building, who would, in turn, spend money.
As I sat here watching the game and the players' valiant efforts to stay alive, I shook my head in disappointment whenever the camera panned to the grandstand.
I realise this may be the end of the road for the 2014 dream. Let's just hope that when it comes to working towards 2018, that either there is a change in philosophy of the current people in charge, or a new spirited regime is implemented.
Eliminated or not, let's make sure the stadium is full come October 15 when we host Honduras.