Good news from Mount Pleasant in the midst of gloomSaturday, November 14, 2020
More troubling news related to the COVID-19 health crisis left Jamaican and Caribbean sports fans on edge over recent days.
First came word that a few West Indies cricketers, now in New Zealand for a Test and T-20 series of matches, had breached quarantine rules.
It seems members of different biosecure bubbles had socialised in hallways and so forth, before the prescribed period for group quarantine ended.
Thankfully, the breach appeared to have been relatively minor, though players were reportedly forced to miss training for a period, as a result. Thus far, all the West Indies players have tested negative for the novel coronavirus and all remains set for the T-20 series to start in late November.
Even before sports fans could exhale, came news that a player and a coach in the Jamaica football squad, now in Saudi Arabia for a two-match Friendly International Series starting today, had tested positive for COVID-19. We are told that two others in the Reggae Boyz squad could be at risk.
The situation — which means affected players are isolated — has reduced selection options for coach Mr Theodore Whitmore who was already hampered by staggered arrivals to Saudi Arabia.
The circumstances mean that the Reggae Boyz may well be at an extreme disadvantage in terms of physical and psychological preparation when they take the field.
Yet, even when gloom seems dominant there is usually some good news somewhere.
There it was on page 44 of yesterday's Daily Observer.
The story, headlined 'Mount Pleasant scores on academic front', tells us that students as young as the grade eight cohort at the two-year-old Mount Pleasant Football Academy in St Ann had passed subjects in the CSEC exams usually done at grade 11. One grade nine student got four distinctions.
Mount Pleasant has only just started a grade 11 cohort.
We at this newspaper recall hailing the academy's founder, Englishman Mr Peter Gould, when the academy project was formally launched two years ago.
We argued then that the project was “a huge gift to Jamaican football” with the potential to help transform the game here.
Well-thinking Jamaicans must surely appreciate the feeling of satisfaction as voiced by academy principal Mr Vannie Clarke: “It ( CSEC passes) says that we are true to our promise to create a culture of excellence and that we are steadfast in our quest to help our kids fulfil their potential, both as athletes and as academics.”
This newspaper is even more encouraged that Mr Clarke has no intention of relaxing.
Says he: “...While there is a sense of pride I am fully focused on growing us and ensuring that we continue to build on the foundations that we have laid so far”.
We look forward with enthusiasm as Mount Pleasant continues its mission to develop footballers who are not just skilled on the field of play but are equipped with a sound educational base — fully prepared for modern, professional sport.
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