NOW that the dream for Brazil 2014 is over, we need to evaluate, in perspective, the campaign executed and its repercussions. Since 1998, when we played in the World Cup Finals in France, it seems as though we have resigned ourselves to using foreign-based players, primarily English-based, to take us back to the finals. But it seems, as the saying goes, lightning does not strike twice in the same place so easily, hence our failure to focus on our indigenous talent.
We have avoided developing our local stock with proper youth preparation, at all levels, for future talent to be harvested and cared for to ensure smooth transition to higher levels of the game of football.
Don'y get me wrong, I acknowledge that the English-based players have certainly assisted our efforts, as in the past they brought us World Cup glory, particularly Deon Burton, Paul Hall, Fitzroy Simpson, Robbie Earle, among others, and we thank them tremendously. Since then, however, we have not seen it fit and proper to nurture our own to take up the mantle, going forward, to meet the task ahead.
Mr John Barnes' employment as head coach was a step in the right direction, but the issues that resulted in his departure from the programme were totally unacceptable.
We then employed Mr Theodore Whitmore, who may or may not have had total autonomy. His failure in the Caribbean Cup should have ended there, instead of continuing with him in the programme. Also, certain assertions made about players being of "second-division standard" in overseas leagues was certainly not helping the programme in any way. And to further compound the dilemma, under Whitmore's leadership, our leading goalscorer, for two seasons, in our local Premier League, was totally shunned. Public opinion and club spectator pressure allowed him a few minutes of play of which he answered by scoring, salvaging a point which gave us a glimmer of hope to see success at the end of the campaign.
Those in leadership, in fact, all of us need to start believing in ourselves and local talents in a more patriotic way and not abnegate them. We will only defeat ourselves before we enter the stadium.
We should now devise a system which will involve all football interest groups, at all levels of participation; be it youngsters, schoolboys or senior league players. This will ensure proper development of a culture common to all involved, in order to harvest the requisite skills to successfully participate and be competitive at the regional and international levels.
Our administrators also need to be more pragmatic and unbiased and understand that our football can only progress with proper and fair policies. With good performances, more private and public sector organisations will help to finance the programme going forward. The Government should also contribute significantly to ensure that stability exists within the programme for its continuity.
Looking forward to the 2018 campaign and for participation in Russia.