Football's post-mortem and the way forward
THE disappointment of the Reggae Boyz's failure to qualify for the Brazil World Cup Finals has affected us all.
It would have been a perfect backdrop had the Boyz qualified for their second World Cup Finals in the vast and beautiful South American nation that shares so much with Jamaica, culturally and otherwise.
But as we agonise over not being numbered among the 32 nations that will jostle for the game's most precious prize between June 12 and July 13, 2014 the time is also ripe for us to reflect on the costly mistakes that unwittingly engineered our downfall.
We have not heard of one just yet, but we are sure that prudent wisdom would dictate a post-mortem of the failed Brazil 2014 crusade. It's important that the country does everything possible to safeguard itself from repeating the errors of the last campaign.
From where we sit, it is clear that all the functioning parts of the football programme failed to click on this occasion and we are left to rue the miserable end result where Jamaica finished at the bottom of the six-nation tournament with five points.
We are convinced there were shortcomings in planning, execution, team selection, tactics, and a wide range of other relevant connections.
The scope of what went wrong, we suspect, is so far-reaching that no one person should shoulder the blame. Therefore, responsibility, we offer, should be borne from a collective point of view.
To avoid a repeat of the pitfalls of the Brazil 2014 campaign, we should set targets and unflinchingly strive to achieve their success. We must have strong systems in place to drive the various programmes.
We must avoid a repeat of the humiliation of the last Caribbean Cup, where as defending champions, we failed to come out of the group phase.
That failure meant our Boyz did not qualify for the CONCACAF Gold Cup, where we missed a glorious opportunity to get vital match practice during the final phase of the World Cup qualifying campaign.
We should not accept ever again our marquis Boyz lying idle on FIFA calendar dates, while our likely opponents are busy sharpening their skills for us. We should, henceforth, optimise every chance we get to build team chemistry.
Sadly, the New Year dawned on us with an air of uncertainty about whether or not we will be able to successfully retain the services of the experienced coach, the German Mr Winfried Schafer.
We have reported that he has in his hands a new contract from the JFF, but is yet to sign. We fear that Mr Schafer may be stalling to weigh his options in a market where his credentials would be attractive to potential employers in far stronger financial positions than ours.
We await with bated breaths his final answer, which should come by mid-January.
With or without Mr Schafer, however, the show must go on. Our Under-20 Reggae Girlz will, in under a week, begin their final quest for a historic World Cup qualification in the Cayman Islands. Both Under-17 and Under-20 men's teams will later this year have their Caribbean elimination play-offs.
For the senior Boyz, they have the CFU Caribbean Cup towards the end of the year. Between now and then, there are four FIFA calendar windows for friendly international games.
For their sake, we hope the Boyz take full advantage.