KINGSTON, Jamaica— Even as senior football in Jamaica is embroiled in controversy, Eric Hosin, Head of Life, Health and Pension of the Guardian Group, is calling for more emphasis to be placed on the grassroots of the sport.
Speaking at the company’s Trafalgar Road head office recently, Hosin, who was hosting the Kingston and St Andrew Football Federation (KSAFA) executives, spoke of the need for building from the ground up if there was to be a significant positive change in football on the island.
Guardian has been a big supporter of the KSAFA Grassroots football programmes over the years and is convinced that special attention needs to be given to the youth.
“I too think it’s important that we build from the bottom up. Nobody is going to get good overnight. If you don’t train them from they are young, then you can’t really expect them to be good later on in life and so we wanted to be a part of that,” Hosin said, in reference to the fact that Guardian has been the main sponsor of the KSAFA Under-10 football competition, since its inception in 2018.
He referenced things that were happening in football elsewhere in the world as prime examples that Jamaica could follow, in a quest to properly develop the sport locally.
“In Europe they have a lot of youth programmes and they build from bottom up. It’s not rocket science, it’s not like it’s never been done before, it’s being done all over Europe.
“All over the world they have these junior programmes. If you go to the United States, you see it. People have their kids involved in different programmes and these programmes are critical competitions that these young people are in.
“We don’t really have a lot of that (in Jamaica) so when you brought that to our attention and said would you be a part of that, we were willing to do so,” he said.
Hosin pointed to the fact that the senior team, gets all the attention while the base is being ignored to the detriment of the sport.
“Everybody gets excited about Reggae Boyz and yes, we should, but where will they come from and how will we have Reggae Boyz, if we don’t develop these young people?” he questioned.
“It’s not going to work and so the key here is how can more programmes like these be developed and get more persons to sponsor because it can’t be just KSAFA.
“It doesn’t make any sense. Jamaica is not KSAFA and it’s how as a nation we can understand that.”
He cited the example of how track and field athletes are developed into world beaters in Jamaica.
“Look at track and field. There are a lot of development meets, even for the young people and that is why we are where we are. When I go abroad and people ask, I say the reason I say they are where they are, because from we are small, we are racing against each other.”
Hosin then lamented that there was nothing like that in football to foster and enhance development in a similar manner.
“There is nothing organised at the football level. Yes, you go to school and within the prep school and primary school you play against each other, but nothing in terms of structure, training, development, competition to help groom and grow persons.”
While he encouraged KSAFA to remain committed to their youth programmes as a means of producing future Reggae Boys and Reggae Girls, he also called on other parish associations to do likewise.
“So, I want to encourage you to really continue the programme but encourage your other associations to also develop the young people. That’s the only way.
“If not, we are going to keep going and one that squeezes through from Jamaica you put them on the team and everybody else is a foreigner. It just doesn’t make any sense. It’s not going to work,” he insisted.
Hosin also pointed out that it will not only produced more footballers, but better citizens at a time when wrong is being celebrated more than right.
“The more players we can bring into programmes like these is the more we will help them, in not just football, but in how they approach life and how they will see life and how they will develop themselves to be better citizens and not get involved with all kinds of wrongdoing, because that is what is popular now.
“What is wrong is popular and that is a sad thing. It’s not what is good is popular right now, it’s what is wrong is popular and it doesn’t work.”
Guardian has committed to return as sponsors of the KSAFA Under-10 competition which is set to restart in August.