Fri | Oct 7, 2022

Gordon: College players have a role to play

Published:Monday | August 15, 2022 | 12:08 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer

Memphis University right back, Maliek Howell, got his second international call-up for the Reggae Boyz when he was named for the Austria Mini Football Tournament in Vienna, Austria, from August 20-26. College players getting called to the senior...

Memphis University right back, Maliek Howell, got his second international call-up for the Reggae Boyz when he was named for the Austria Mini Football Tournament in Vienna, Austria, from August 20-26.

College players getting called to the senior Reggae Boyz squad is rare but interim coach Merron Gordon says the right back has been doing extremely well and deserves his inclusion.

He also thinks college players who are doing well should be given more opportunities in the future.

“This is something we need to do in the future when the players do well here (locally) and go to colleges in the United States.

“Maliek is going to college not just for an education but also to move over to the pro leagues.

“Players like Maliek with special talent, you have to keep nurturing them, especially those (college players) who want a professional career out of football,” he noted.

He pointed out that the Reggae Girlz traditionally look to the American college system to recruit players. However, the men’s team scarcely does this and usually these players go three to four years without being looked at by the national team.

But Gordon believes the country’s best young college players, many of whom are former national youth players, should be afforded this opportunity to continue their international development.

“The Reggae Girlz have always continued with them but with the Reggae Boyz many of these players you do not see them again.

“Maliek is a top talent, a lot of clubs are eyeing him, so it’s also a good opportunity to showcase himself.

“It is also a position we need to develop. We don’t have a lot of right backs in and around the Jamaica team. So we need some more players in this position.”

He added that the Austria series is also an opportunity for some overseas-born players who have been showing an interest to represent Jamaica, like Exeter City’s 27-year-old midfielder, Jevani Brown.

“We have watched tapes of them and they are doing well. It is a good opportunity to showcase themselves. He (Brown) is one such player and we need to continue bringing youngsters through.

“It’s a good opportunity to really make a mark for themselves,” he stated.