Sport

Door not closed on King, says JFF

Sanjay Myers

Tuesday, October 30, 2012    

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JAMAICA'S senior team assistant coach Alfredo Montesso says the door is not closed on out-of-favour striker Marlon King as the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) looks to implement the framework for the Reggae Boyz's preparation for next year's final round of qualifying for Brazil 2014.

Montesso insisted that despite a below-par showing from King in two friendly internationals against Panama this year and a widely publicised disciplinary issue, the player could play a role in the qualifiers if he can prove his commitment to the national programme.

"We have been spreading to the players that nobody has a share in the team. Everybody is competing with each other and many times myself and head coach Theodore (Whitmore), we have expressed that no door is closed for any Jamaican player once they fit with the team and once they obey the rules.

"Even inside a team there is a different approach for different persons, but there are common rules that have to be respected. I believe the coaching staff is sticking to that.

"I have been saying that in the two games against Panama, in my point of view, technically, Marlon was not in a good shape. He didn't play two good games," he told the Jamaica Observer's Monday Exchange of reporters and editors at the newspaper's offices.

The Brazilian coach, along with JFF president Captain Horace Burrell and Whitmore, is set to have dialogue with key players on a visit to the United Kingdom for a 12-day trip, starting Thursday.

Montesso, who was physical trainer when the Reggae Boyz made it to the 1998 World Cup in France, said the prolific King, 32, will not be overlooked, especially since the team at times have struggled to score against top opposition.

"We have to get the opportunity to sit with him. We know what he did before and we know what he is doing at his club now. We are going to follow him and Ricardo Fuller and all the players who want the opportunity to play for the team.

"Once the player fits in the programme he will be welcome to the team. What is important is that everyone understands that there is no one bigger than Jamaica. There is no one bigger than the team. No one of us," stressed Montesso.

Birmingham City forward King has scored 12 goals in a Jamaica shirt from 21 appearances.

Meanwhile, Burrell, who emphasised several times to Observer reporters and editors that the JFF will be doing all it can to ensure no stone is left unturned in the quest for qualification, said the strongest possible team will be fielded come next year.

"It is the policy of the Jamaica Football Federation that we field the best 11 players on that pitch at all times... Thankfully, we are onto the final phase that's due to kick off on the 6th of February. It means we have some time to iron out all the kinks. We won't be begging anyone to play. We are a proud people and the JFF believes that players must have the burning desire to play for Jamaica," the former army man said.

Montesso quickly added that for the coaching staff, playing the best 11 may not necessarily mean drafting players who are popular in the public's eye because of what they have done in the past.

"It is important that we understand that the best 11 sometimes is not the best players, but sometimes the right players. We have to understand the chemistry and other aspects when we put players in there. We need players committed to the national programme. So we are not only going there to scout how they are playing, but to sit with them and feel (find out) if they are committed," he explained.

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