FIFA group hails CONCACAF
Leighton Levy, Sunday Gleaner Writer
Football has shown satisfactory progress in the region, but it will take a more focused and strategic approach to drive continued growth. That's the view of members of a FIFA delegation, which conducted a workshop here last weekend.
The workshop was held last weekend at the Jamaica Pegasus. Members of the delegation, led by FIFA Development Officer Howard McIntosh, also travelled to Montego Bay to watch Jamaica's U-20 team play the United States in the Under-20 CONCACAF Championships.
Following the two days of discussions, the delegation arrived at the conclusion that the model for achieving further growth within CONCACAF will lie in the strengthening of the relationship between FIFA and CONCACAF; the continued implementation of grassroots, women's and youth football programmes; as well as further developing other versions of the game such as beach football and Futsal.
They also established that it was critical that a properly structured coaching and club licensing programme within the CONCACAF region be established. The aim moving forward, the delegation agreed, is to have CONCACAF teams not only qualifying for international tournaments, but being a competitive force in those competitions across all variations of the sport.
The group addressed the viability of several programmes and training courses as the FIFA development staff strategised for 2015.
"I am pleased with progress that we have made as the FIFA development staff for the CONCACAF region," said McIntosh following the discussions.
He added that 2014 "was a massive year. We had three of our four representatives advancing to the knockout stage and Costa-Rica making it to the quarter-finals of the FIFA World Cup. For 2015, we have the Gold Cup coming up as well as the Copa America in Chile, where Jamaica and Mexico are set to participate."
The FIFA delegation included Juerg Nepfer, head of education and technical development; Gregory Engelbrecht, senior manager of Development Programmes of the Americas; Angenie Kanhai, FIFA development officer for the North-West Caribbean; Julio Rocha, FIFA development officer for Central America and the Spanish-speaking Caribbean; Marcos Tinoco, technical development officer for the North-West Caribbean; Anton Corneal, technical development officer for the South-East Caribbean; and Rodrigo Kenton, technical director for Central America and the Spanish-speaking Caribbean.