Good leaders make good sense

Editorial

Good leaders make good sense

Saturday, December 05, 2020

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We are struck by a comment from Jamaican national footballer Mr Damion Lowe in a recent interview with this newspaper.

“It's always an honour to wear the [captain's] armband, but at the same time, you don't need an armband to lead,” Mr Lowe said, when asked about his captaincy role during last month's topsy-turvy trip to Saudi Arabia by the Reggae Boyz.

That's so true. In sport, as in any endeavour, all team members must be prepared to do and say the correct thing in any given situation, in order to ensure project success.

Nonetheless, the role of the assigned leader is absolutely vital.

Readers will recall that the national team first lost 0-3 to their hosts, having arrived in that country in separate groups, days apart, because of poor arrangements. That chaotic state of affairs led to the national coach, Mr Theodore Whitmore, having to select a below-strength team for the first game, since some players who had arrived late had to await COVID-19 clearance before taking the field.

But three days later when the coach was able to field his best team, the Reggae Boyz pulled themselves together to impressively defeat their hosts 2-1.

The situation in Saudi Arabia was complicated by positive COVID-19 test results affecting five members of the Jamaican delegation. One player tested positive in London and was quarantined there while four other delegation members had to remain in Saudi Arabia under quarantine at the end of the tour. All have now returned home.

It was a situation that required good, on-the-spot leadership. Our impression is that Mr Lowe, who was standing in as team captain for injured goalkeeper Mr Andre Blake, did a fine job.

Sometimes, leaders have to respond in unorthodox fashion to crisis. Mr Lowe's response to questions about how the team dealt with the situation in Saudi Arabia perhaps gives us some idea as to his own willingness to adapt and adjust.

“It was a mental test, as it was very difficult for all of us, but we stuck through it. The guys were very professional. We even started to joke about the situation just to lighten the moment,” he said.

But we also recognise that Mr Lowe — son of 1998 World Cup qualifying hero Mr Onandi Lowe — is capable of a no-nonsense approach, unwilling to put up with foolishness.

Hence his comment regarding future engagements for the Reggae Boyz: “I've told the administration it's [haphazard arrangements] not going to go on any longer, we need to get issues out the way before camps, before tours, so we can come in and focus only on football.

“Over the years it has been a situation where we come, negotiate, strike. Stuff like that won't get us to the World Cup; won't get us playing well; won't get us focused! We have new players coming in every time, and if we want to attract more players interested to play for the national team, we have to make sure that everything is set, so when they hear about what's going on in the national team they want to come and play,” he said.

That's good, sensible leadership, we think.


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