AS a people, we are often guilty of being short-sighted.
Let's consider the long-running debate about local versus foreign talent in football.
When Captain Horace Burrell, head of the Jamaica Football Federation, led a three-man team to Europe last year to solicit overseas-based players of Jamaican heritage — seen as providing the Reggae Boyz squad with a better chance of qualifying for the final phase of the CONCACAF World Cup campaign — there were those who opposed the initiative.
Many argued then that, with the influx of foreign-bred players, those locally developed would have no motivation to strive for senior team selection.
From our vantage point, that argument was bereft of any logic. For we believed then, as we do now, that though it is noble for any home-grown player to be desirous of the opportunity to represent his country, the bigger picture is for that player to develop his craft to such a level where he can earn a professional contract abroad to sustain himself and his family.
The fact is, Jamaica's football programme is underdeveloped, and is at best semi-pro. Those with the capacity to earn a living from the sport will find only limited opportunities here.
Indeed, if our football is to develop to an acceptable level, where we can sustain a serious challenge for World Cup Finals qualification within our CONCACAF region, then we must export enough players, who would be pitting wits and skills against the best players in the world on a more consistent basis, thereby making the Reggae Boyz squad better.
It is no accident that the most successful national team in the history of international football competition, Brazil, exports in excess of 500 players annually to Europe's top-tier clubs — nearly twice as many as the next highest exporter, France.
Clearly, all 500 players cannot fit into the 23-man national squad, but the spin-offs for Brazilian football and indeed that country's national economy are considerable.
New head coach of Jamaica's national senior men's team, Mr Winfried Schafer, who has seemingly taken on a posture of a man in the job for the long term — which this newspaper fully endorses — has reignited the discussion of locally developed players and their role in the Reggae Boyz team through his invitation to Waterhouse's Mr Romario Campbell.
Said the German, "We have to give the talent the opportunity to improve now, but the talent must also have the self-discipline and ambition to develop."
We couldn't agree more with Mr Schafer, but this is nothing new; and we must ask if most of our local-based players do have the ambition to develop.
Welshman Mr Gareth Bale has only recently signed a world-record transfer fee of £85m from Tottenham Hotspur in England to Real Madrid in Spain, while that same club extended Mr Cristiano Ronaldo's contract, which will now see him receive 18m euros a year, after tax, plus 50 per cent of his image rights, making him the world's best paid player.
Such news, we believe, should fan the fire in the guts of our local players to excel and parade their skills, not just in Jamaica, but globally.