JFF's Technical Centre opens in October
FOLLOWING a series of delays, Howard McIntosh has promised that the FIFA-funded JFF Technical Centre to prepare the nation's footballers will finally be open for business in October this year.
The chairman of the JFF Technical and Development Committee said the late start-up of the UWI Mona-based training home for the national teams was due to delays brought on by "various reasons".
"We have had some delays starting with contractural issues in terms of the delivery from the people who originally had the project... we have had one or two issues with water," said McIntosh as he addressed reporters and editors at the weekly Jamaica Observer's Monday Exchange.
He said the technical centre is scheduled to play a key role in the revolution of the technical infrastruture.
"As we talk about facilities, the football centre at the UWI is a critical part of that and will come on stream at a particular level... When I say that I mean two fields and the technical centre to house the technical staff, and that should be on stream by October," he noted.
McIntosh, who is also a FIFA development officer for the CONCACAF region, told the Observer's battery of reporters that the project sited on UWI lands is funded so far by FIFA Goal Programme money to the tune of US$900,000 (about J$750 million) covering two phases of an initial three-prong development.
After getting it up and running in its current form, the JFF intends to apply for another Goal Project grant of US$500,000 to execute the final phase.
Jamaica has struggled with getting a training facility for its footballers off the ground for years, starting in 2003 when FIFA president Joseph 'Sepp' Blatter was in Jamaica to break ground at a chosen site in Portmore.
That location was later abandoned by the new administration led by Crenston Boxhill, who opted to take the project to the remote hills of Malvern in St Elizabeth. The project, in an unfinished state, was later condemned by then FIFA vice-president Austin 'Jack' Warner at a visit to the location in 2007.
The JLP government later bought the property below value after it languished on the real estate open market for years. The facility is to be used to house and rehabilitate troubled students.