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Money dispute may have blown Olympic hopes

Published:Tuesday | August 18, 2015 | 6:12 PM

Head coach of Jamaica's Under-23 men's football team, Miguel Coley, noted that off-the-field issues may have disrupted the team and its focus, as they ultimately lost the opportunity to advance in the Olympic qualification at the weekend.

The team left the island last week full of confidence in making it to the final round of the CONCACAF Olympic qualifiers. However, needing to win their semi-final against Cuba to guarantee themselves one of the two spots in the CONCACAF final round, the team lost 2-1.

They rallied to win the third-place match against St Vincent and the Grenadines 3-2, but by then it was too little, too late.

One source revealed that the players were involved in a money dispute, which may have affected their performance. The source revealed that the players' per diem was reduced from their first-round travels to St Lucia in June, causing the dispute a day before the Cuba game.

represent with pride

Coley said it affected their mindset.

"We are always going to have situations, but there are situations you don't want before the day of a game, as it is always difficult to get back the mindset to go out and represent your country," Coley admitted.

"We have to channel these players in the right way and let them know their country is more than anything and the pride and passion to represent your country need to be looked at at all levels, so when players come in, they know how to wear the national colours with pride," he commented.

"This tournament wasn't about money; it was an opportunity for them (players) to earn more money if they had gone to CONCACAF (final round) or the Olympics. So it is not an immediate gratification, it's what is there for the future, and this is unacceptable and we have to move on from here," he stated.

Coley said he hopes a system will be put in place to prevent a recurrence.

"I had to get into their heads and let them see the importance of representing their country and what they can achieve in the future," he pointed out. "But whatever issue there is, it is good to put it on the table very early.

"It was unacceptable from young aspiring players, and we don't want this trend to continue," said Coley.

- L.S.