first_imgThere were two very contrasting football results over the past weekend. Two matches were played at the National Stadium, one on Friday November 13 and the other the following Saturday. Both matches drew impressive crowd numbers and the results were a textbook study of contrasts. The match on Friday was a World Cup Qualifying (WCQ) encounter, the first of the second stage of the competition. The team selected had previously done very well in international competition, doing well against some of the top teams in the world, then moving on to the Gold Cup in North America, where we finished as the runners-up to Mexico. Of significance during those glory days of satisfactory results were reports of discontent among the players and the hierarchy of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), and in particular its smooth-talking President for life, Captain Horace Burrell. We did get reports of meetings just before important games of some players threatening to strike if promised payments and conditions were not met. Practices were abandoned, sponsorship agreements either postponed or reluctantly attended and an air of discontent could not be hidden from visual reports of the team on tour. However, after showing the Jamaican fans, and indeed the world, that at long last Jamaica’s football demanded respect, what seems to be the real motive of the players emerged. They do not perform for the love of representing their country. They perform for (a) the monetary reward and (b) to show their skills on an international stage, thus improving their chances of improved football contracts. Thus we had them abandoning the team in important matches for ‘personal reasons’, which ranged from ‘being with family’ to ‘going for a visa interview’. Thus Jamaica lost matches, tumbled down the international rankings, and came to being minutes away from failing to move to the present stage of WCQ. Assembled in Jamaica for a crucial home match against tough rivals Panama, the same old attitude and thought process reigned supreme. Then instead of levelling with an anxious public about the truth behind a delayed practice at ‘The Office’, our arrogant leader of Jamaica’s football behaves as if a reporter’s questions re the protracted meeting at the training venue, where shouts were heard coming from the meeting room, constituted an “annoyance”. The result was a display of the worst football seen at ‘The Office’ by a Jamaican team in years. Incompetence and plain “don’t care” seemed to be the order of the day. Thus: Panama 2 Jamaica 0. So it is on to Haiti, with again one of our key players not on the trip for ‘personal reasons’. The Reggae Boyz, when focused and ready, have the skills to bounce back and still qualify for the World Cup Finals in 2018. But the question to be answered is this: How long will the public be prepared to put up with repeated displays of disrespect from players and, President while hoping against hope that we will qualify for Russia? FLOW Super Cup On Saturday, November 14, at the same venue of the previous night’s debacle, the final of the FLOW Super Cup was played between St George’s College (StGC) and Jamaica College (JC). This time, the match was played by members of two teams (schoolboys) who gave their all for coach and school. Fans were treated to a match of such quality that spectators watched open mouth, in awe as StGC displayed skills that drew comparison to the great Barcelona! Well done, StGC! This display re-emphasises the point that our own local footballers, if given the chance, coaching, and exposure, can be groomed and trained to be a force to be reckoned with in global football If those in administration with the ability to think outside of their own financial well-being could identify a squad of young local ballers and keep them together in a year-long training and playing group, then we can qualify for another senior World Cup Finals. The present “formula” has consistently failed and will fail again, until we give our home-grown talent a chance. It can be done; however, not with the present hierarchy of the JFF. They have shown, time and time again, that as long as they are rewarded with trips and cash, nothing will change. We the football fans of Jamaica deserve better.last_img read more

first_img James Ward-Prowse and Nathan Redmond are back in the England Under-21 squad 1 James Ward-Prowse and Nathan Redmond have returned to the England Under-21s for a training camp ahead of Euro 2017.The Southampton pair earned their first senior caps against Germany in March and June’s tournament in Poland will be their last appearances for the Young Lions before they become too old.Manchester City’s Patrick Roberts, who has spent this season on loan at Celtic, has been handed a first call-up while Sunderland’s Jordan Pickford is also in.But Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford has been included in the senior squad and is now not expected to travel to Poland with the Young Lions.“We’re really looking forward to seeing everybody again and things will start to crank up a notch,” boss Aidy Boothroyd told thefa.com.“It’s good to get them all back in together, get re-focused and make sure we’re prepared properly for the Euros.“We’ve got players at different stages, we have lads who have played 40-game seasons who will need a different sort of conditioning to the guys who have played nine or 10 games.“And we have players who have been coming off the bench and playing bit-parts for their teams and players who have played in different leagues as well, so we have a real mix in terms of fitness levels.”The five-day meet next week will start the countdown for the tournament opener against Sweden on June 16 while England also face Poland and Slovakia in Group A.UEFA’s deadline for countries to name their final 23-man squad is June 6.Boothroyd added: “We only have The Emirates FA Cup Final, the Championship Play-Off and the Scottish Cup Final to get through so fingers crossed we will get everybody unscathed and we can have a really good training camp.“I’ll be looking for as much information as I can gather about where everybody’s at and then I’ll pick the squad.“But there’s a lot of good players here so it’s going to be very difficult to leave players out.”The preliminary England squad, in full, can be seen below:Goalkeepers: Gunn (Manchester City), Mitchell (Derby), Pickford (Sunderland), Wildsmith (Sheffield Wednesday)Defenders: Chambers (Arsenal), Chilwell (Leicester), Hause (Wolves), Holding (Arsenal), Holgate (Everton), Iorfa (Wolves), Mawson (Swansea), McQueen (Southampton), Stephens (Southampton), Targett (Southampton)Midfielders: Baker (Chelsea), Chalobah (Chelsea), Grealish (Aston Villa), Hughes (Derby), Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea), Swift (Reading), Ward-Prowse (Southampton)Forwards: Abraham (Chelsea), Brown (Huddersfield on loan from Chelsea), Gray (Leicester), Murphy (Norwich), Redmond (Southampton), Roberts (Manchester City), Woodrow (Fulham).last_img read more