I am of the opinion that fans and well-wishers of Jamaica's national senior football team, Reggae Boyz, should temper their expectations as the team moves into competition mode to challenge for supremacy in the Gold Cup later in this year and later the big one — a slot in the coveted World Cup finals, Qatar 2022 — beginning with the high-profile matches in Japan in a few days' time.
Ironically, the the flip side of the position I have promoted should be the reality, as Jamaica's football is at a most exciting time in its history — superseded only by that monumental achievement of France 1998, achieved with the influx of quality English-based Jamaican professional footballers donning the national colours of black, green and gold.
If these and other talented locally grown professional players, along with those plying their trade in various leagues around the world, are placed at the disposal of the national coach for selection, the availability of quality players will surely not be the problem this time around.
Regrettably, for the fans, however, the game of football is quite intricate; it requires, cohesiveness, synchronisation, and coordination for a team to perform at its best. 'Big' names written on match cards mean nothing. Like a good orchestra preparing for that symposium, it takes time, often long and tedious hours of practising together, working through all conditions, in order to achieve perfection and chemistry among members for team performance.
I think the Reggae Boyz have been found wanting in this area, the main contributing factor being not enough practice matches as a unit to form the backbone of the team.
Continuous addition of new players and poor logistics would have also been a negative force in putting together a well-oiled unit.
And, don't forget how the novel coronavirus pandemic has hampered everything and everyone.
Fans, however, should not hang their heads in despair, as the future of Jamaica's football is very bright and encouraging.
Brand Jamaica, in football, is large, with over 120 players of Jamaican heritage playing in the three main divisions of the English football leagues and, profoundly, there are firm indications that, in short order, we will be able to challenge for football supremacy and demand our share of this multimillion-dollar business of world football — just as we have done in world athletics.
The economic spin-off will be tremendous; creating jobs and giving another sector of the country hope and aspiration.
The ball is in the court of the Jamaica Football Federation — as well as our universities, academies, economists, advisors to the Government — to successfully amalgamate local grown players with the foreign-based players to create a strong unit.
I am encouraged by recent steps taken by the JFF in moving the game in a professional direction. With all hands on deck, all things can be achieved.
Dalgalish Henry Sr
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