... but team needs the right balance, says Robbie Earle
CELEBRATED Reggae Boyz striker Robbie Earle has not given up hope for Jamaica to come through their present predicament and improve their chances of making it to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup Finals, even if it is through the play-offs.
"I am very disappointed where we are after six games into the qualification, and sitting at the bottom of the standings with a mere two points. The Reggae Boyz for me are much better than the position in which they find themselves at present," said Earle, who scored Jamaica's first goal in the country's 1998 seminal entrance to the World Cup Finals of Football, and who is now an ESPN analyst.
"There are a number of things that we are doing that I'd like to see change," Earle advanced. "I figure somewhere along the way we can channel a bit more of our personality or identity in our play, as the Reggae Boyz are Jamaican footballers," he added. And this is something that he is expecting to be "introduced over the next few games".
Earle thinks it is important that the Boyz go out and play without fear, restore pride and belief in themselves, and see if they can leave that door ajar that could maybe just give them that chance to make the play-offs and be one of the 24 teams in Brazil.
Taking a cursory look at the change of coach, Earle said that people are hopeful that the change of coach will bring success, but it is not guaranteed. Theodore (Whitmore) should look back at some of the things that happened during his time in the hot seat and reflect that if given another chance he would do them differently.
"When a new coach comes in he may look at players, look at systems, definitely, he may personally be thinking about playing two forwards rather than one. Such a move, it seems, would add more attacking flak and give the team a little more shape with ultra-positive intentions.
"We are at the stage where draws are no good to us, we have to go for wins starting with Panama, which is the first game in."
Looking at how players are currently selected to the national squad, Earle thinks it is interesting as there are about 13 players from the UK, there are another six or seven from the MLS, and some local-based. "Probably if we went back in history going back to 1998 when the mix was right with a lot of local talent and the inclusion of Deon Burton, Paul Hall, Fitzroy Simpson and myself, that brought something else to the group," he suggested.
"I would say our presence was not just about teaching, we were learning and taking from the local players as much as we gave, and it was that mix that was important and pulled us together."
For solace and advancement, Earle thinks this is precisely what this group has to do. "The players have to come together and learn from each other."
Continuing, Earle said that Jamaica must begin to appreciate local talent a little bit more. "There are times," he said, "overseas players are chosen ahead of local players because they play overseas and believe that they are the better players, "but I will never ever believe that. What they have is the better opportunity. But if we could get the mix right and find the balancing of the chemistry, we can come into our own and tackle more advanced countries than ourselves on the football stage," Earle predicted.