There were many raised eyebrows when Mr Rene Simoes called up a 17-year-old schoolboy, Mr Ricardo 'Bibi' Gardner, to take on the left back position in the build-up to the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France.
The astuteness of the move would be confirmed in Jamaica's opening game of that tournament when Mr Gardner's slick run and swerving pinpoint cross from the left found the head of Mr Robbie Earle for Jamaica's historic first goal in a FIFA World Cup Finals.
That play not only confirmed Jamaica as a fledgling force to be taken seriously in football, it underlined Mr Gardner as one for the future.
Mr Gardner was soon part of another major 'first' when he was traded by his club, Harbour View, to Bolton Wanderers of England for £1 million — a sum which, until then, would only have been dreamt of in Jamaican football. In a real sense, that trade was the dawning of a new day for the local game.
Fifty years earlier, the living legend Mr Lindy Delapenha had become the first Jamaican footballer to play at a high professional level in England.
But in the modern era, Mr Gardner's signing was of even greater significance — if only because of the realisation it brought to the Jamaican football fraternity of the financial benefits possible from a professional approach to the sport.
That he spent 14 years with Bolton, helping them to gain promotion to the premier league and to stay there, is tribute to Mr Gardner's talent and discipline as a professional.
The mutual respect and loyalty shared by player and club through thick and thin is something to be admired.
Through it all, Mr Gardner's example and record as a professional paved the way and made it easier for dozens of his countrymen who now ply their trade across the globe.
Now 34 years old and at the twilight of his professional career, Mr Gardner — having not played for his country since 2009 — is now part of the national squad seeking to defend Jamaica's championship title in the CFU Caribbean Cup in Antigua and Barbuda.
No doubt he is a step or two slower than he was back in 1998, and the natural wear and tear, plus numerous injuries, will have taken their toll, but we are sure Mr Gardner has much to offer.
Experience and football wisdom such as he has gained down the years will be of immense value, we believe, in the upcoming tournament and possibly even in next year's final round of CONCACAF qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
His expressed self-confidence is heart-warming. "... I always have what it takes to represent my country," says Mr Gardner.
We join all well-thinking Jamaicans in wishing him well.