While welcoming the addition of two of his players to the senior Reggae Boyz training squad, Clarendon College's (CC) team Manager Richard Palmer also made a case for Head Coach Lenworth "Teacha" Hyde to join the national programme, if even at the youth level.
Though not advocating for Hyde to take over any of the respective programmes — Under-17, Under-20 or senior Reggae Boyz — Palmer said the experienced Hyde possesses vast knowledge and promotes an attractive, fluid style of football, which the CC manager believes would add value at the national level.
Palmer's sentiments came as his charges Malachi Douglas and Okeemo Jones were named in Heimir Hallgrimsson's first senior team local-based training squad, which was announced on Tuesday.
Both Douglas and Jones joined Kingston College's Dujuan "Whisper" Richards as the schoolboy football standouts to rub shoulders with the senior Reggae Boyz.
"It's a major accomplishment for any schoolboy, at their age it's the right time for their introduction to the senior team and I believe our youth players must be targeted as we try to get to the next World Cup.
"So it's a good sign, it shows that Clarendon College's programme is no fluke and it also shows that Coach Hyde and his technical team are doing an excellent job and they know what they are doing because the development of these two players must be credited to Lenny Hyde," Palmer told the Jamaica Observer.
However, Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) President Michael Ricketts, who declined to elaborate, told the Observer that a move for Hyde is not on the cards at present.
"We have heard and noted the comments but it is not something we are considering right now," Ricketts said.
Douglas, an attacking midfielder, was instrumental in leading Clarendon College — widely regarded as the top schoolboy football team in the recently ended season — to the daCosta Cup and Olivier Shield. Douglas scored 19 goals, complemented by six assists, and was also named MVP of the rural competition. Jones, an outstanding right back, scored two goals and assisted 15.
Richards, who netted more than 30 goals for Kingston College, while providing 19 assists, was the toast of the urban area Manning Cup, despite not winning a title.
"It's a great feeling to know that the work they put in is being recognised and it would have only been fitting if Lenny had been called with them [the young players] because I think there is a need for him to be a part of the national programme," Palmer opined.
"I keep saying that he has been tested and proven because the type of football he coaches is where football needs to be in Jamaica. I think if we are going to have good football acumen then we need to have the right person guiding the youngsters. I am not saying that he should take over, I'm just saying he can add more value to the staff," he reiterated.
Palmer expressed optimism the players will make the most of what he is expecting to be the first of many opportunities at the senior level.
"This [the players call-up] is not surprising to us because we are preparing them for the big stage, so all I would say to them is to continue working hard, they know what it takes to get to the top. So, I expect them to fit in easily," said Palmer.
"I am hoping that this is just the start of what will be a consistent tenure in the senior set-up; I know that they are disciplined and hard-working, so hopefully they remain grounded and just do what they are capable of doing to impress the coach," he ended.