TVJ Sports Town Hall | Suggestions and recommendations
At the recent TVJ Sports Town Hall meeting at 100, which was used to discuss the state of Jamaican football, the nation's top football officials and aficionados came together to explore options and make recommendations to move the sport forward.
Following a lively and insightful discussion, the members of the panel gave their recommendations, including short-term and long-term suggestions centred around domestic and international football, the administration of the sport locally, development of infrastructure, and the improvement of youth football.
Michael Ricketts - JFF president
"I recommend a number of things. First and foremost is to ensure that this Olympic squad we are getting together, we must give it the best shot. This is no short-term fix. We have identified 50 players that will start our camp within the next month or so, and we want to ensure that we get as much support from corporate Jamaica in addition to what we are getting from Jamaica Olympic Association. We want to get to the Olympics 2020. "Immediately after we start the World Cup campaign, which is no short fix, but I believe we have the calibre, we have a set of players that can matriculate into a proper force, from the Olympics (team) into the World Cup qualifiers."
Craig Butler - Founder/Owner Phoenix Academy
"It's about people thinking to win, rather than thinking to develop. We have young players that have come up through the system, top scored in the Manning Cup but can't use their weak foot. And when you are looking to put them in the next level, they can't make the jump, because they are predictable players. The game of football has gone into a high level of technology, so the reality of what we have to do now is to change the philosophy to focus on creativity and development."
Rudolph Speid - Chairman, Cavalier Soccer Club
"We are very fast, very skilful and we play scrimmage well. If we combine those three, you will have a definite style of play. We can qualify for the 2022 World Cup, we have young talented players, and this is one of the best crop of young players I have seen for a long time."
Don Anderson - Chairman, Professional Football Association of Jamaica
"What I think will be the catalyst to change is CONCACAF's mandate that all the leagues in the region have to become highly professional in all aspects on and off the field, by next year. I believe this is going to be the push towards implementing a lot of what we have heard. We have to become highly professional and be able to maintain our status quo in the world of football.
"We have to set a road map, we have to have a realistic time frame within which to successfully challenge for a place in the World Cup, and I don't think four or six years is a realistic time.
"So the first thing is to set a realistic time frame for us to qualify for the World Cup and do well. Maybe 10 years from now will be a realistic time frame. The step towards that is a road map, what's the objective, how do we get there, and we have to have a consensus of building the youth programme.
"Government must be a facilitator. I believe like in the use of the National Stadium, which is going to be a pivotal part of the plans for the 2018-2019 Red Stripe competition (Premier League), the Government has to find a way for clubs to use it at a reasonable rate."
AB Stewart Stephenson - Former KSAFA president
"Ask (established) clubs to do a profile on infrastructure, let them do balance sheets and how they build their share structure, and call a national symposium with members of the private sector, who are interested in not just getting their brand on TV, but having a real involvement in the management and ownership of the clubs. That is how I think we can have a solution going forward. If we can get that with the private sector, we will then move towards professionalism, and that is one positive way for football in our country."
George Forbes - Competitions Officer, ISSA
"Everybody's talking about youth football. But I don't think we are doing very good as a country where football is concerned.
"Where are we going to get referees to do all these matches in all parishes? Every year I do my fixture from July, and every year religiously, I have to cut and paste and do everything to get referees. We cannot do more than six games at any given day in the Manning Cup. So are you telling me 18 referees in Kingston and St Andrew can help with the development of football for Under-13, Under-15, Under-17, Manning and DaCosta Cup competitions?"
Vanny Clarke - Coach, Mt Pleasant Academy Under-13
"We have to look at infrastructure. There is a lot of cost attached to that. But at Mount Pleasant, we are currently looking at developing playing fields. When you coach kids most times in Jamaica, you have to tell them look at the ball, because it's rolling to them and the next minute it's passing their knee.
"So I feel developing our playing fields is a huge factor in solving the overall issue in ensuring that technically, our game starts to matriculate to first team football."
Andre Virtue - Chairman, JFF National Youth Development Committee
"Coaching education is important, and coaches need to be exposed to what is happening globally. You can't take a player further than you have gone, and I think sometimes our methods are still centred on what we see on TV. We need to expose our coaches to understand what is being done and how to identify and develop talent.
"We are focused so much on winning, that development gets thrown out the door. We have to look at developing the players. If you develop players and the base is wider, there will be more participation and more growth in the system. So those are areas we have to focus on, if we want to see some changes."
Allie McNab - Adviser to the Minister of Sports
"Everybody wants instant success, nobody wants to invest. Nobody is talking about a business structure. We have spoken about so many things, but can we put it all together and make it come to a successful thing?
"Everybody has made a contributory point that is important. It's now down to the JFF to pull all of it together. We all want to get to the World Cup, but it's a process and it's about youth development. The injection of youth is very important."
Compiled by Livingston Scott