Editorial

Good vibes for national football teams

Saturday, October 12, 2019

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This newspaper can only agree with national men's football coach Mr Theodore Whitmore regarding the Concacaf Nations League which continues today with the Reggae Boyz hosting Aruba at the National Stadium in St Andrew.

We believe the league is among the more progressive initiatives pushed through by regional football leaders with the support of the global governing body, Fifa.

As Mr Whitmore has said, the league allows national teams like Jamaica, and indeed, many countries in the Caribbean with far less recognition than Jamaica, to gain competitive international exposure on a planned, long-term basis.

No longer is there need to depend solely on the whims and fancies of other football federations for competition.

Says Mr Whitmore: “The Nations League guarantees competitive matches, and this creates a platform of pressure which is good for the players, coaches and administrators. Pressure is what develops and sharpens skills. The more we operate in this environment the better prepared we are for even bigger moments ...” Crucially, of course, the Concacaf Nations League competition in 2019 is providing preparation for next year's start of Concacaf qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup as well as the Concacaf Gold Cup in 2021.

Thus far the Reggae Boyz have done well in this phase of the Concacaf Nations League with handsome victories over Antigua and Barbuda as well as Guyana.

Football enthusiasts will be expecting no less against Aruba although, as is well established in sport, “the ball is round”.

To Mr Whitmore's credit, his ambitions have gone well beyond just winning games. He speaks of his plan to build depth within his team.

Says he: “For this four-year cycle we need three, even four competent players in every position as a number of factors will occur including injuries, illnesses, suspensions, lack of form, lack of playing time at clubs, travel issues, etcetera, that could rule players out.

We, therefore, need a deep pool...”

Of course, Jamaica's women's football team, the Reggae Girlz, have also been busy just recently.

Coming on the back of their inaugural participation at the Fifa World Cup in France in mid-year, the Reggae Girlz dominated Caribbean competition in the Group B Concacaf Women's Olympic Caribbean Qualifying phase in Kingston.

We are told that Jamaica now join Caribbean neighbours Haiti, world champions United States of America, Canada, and Mexico in the final round with two central American and one more Caribbean team to be confirmed.

That's all good news.

We are equally pleased that the Jamaica Football Federation and leading women's football fund-raiser and philanthropist Ms Cedella Marley are close to smoothing out differences which have muddied the waters in recent months.

For progress, Jamaica's football needs peace and unity, not quarrels and 'cass cass'.


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