As the momentum begins to gather ahead of the semi-final round of the Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying, the perennial and ever-revolving debate about the disdain for local-based players and the converse obsession with foreign-born players for the senior Reggae Boyz team continues. Jamaica Football Federation President Captain Horace Burrell was at it again last week travelling to England to try and convince more players to join the squad heading into the semi-final group of death fixtures involving Costa Rica, Panama, and Haiti. The thinking remains for the captain and all the recent coaches of the national senior team: the more foreigners, the better the team. The obvious inference is that players in the second or third tier of English football or players in the abstract leagues of Scandinavia, or even in the American Major League Soccer and its supporting leagues are automatically and significantly of superior quality to all players playing locally. This, to my mind, represents a disrespect of local football generally, and commensurate dissing of the local players. Chairman of the Harbour View Football Club Carvel Stewart, who has held firm to his conviction on this issue, stated again last week that Jamaica would not make it back to the World Cup Finals until a local-based core of players is established as part of the senior squad. While agreeing with the general sentiments of Mr Stewart, my wording would be different. My sentiments are, until the delicate balance between the number of foreign-born players and the number of local-based players is struck, Jamaica will struggle to get back to the World Cup Finals. At the moment, instead of a delicate balance being struck, there is a distinct bias at work. It might turn out to be a “curse in disguise” for the long-term development of the national football programme that Jamaica performed so well in the CONCACAF Gold Cup. What that string of performances has provided is a “false vindication” for “more foreigners policy”. What is fast becoming my “pipe dream” is for that elusive right balance to be found – not a sharp swing from one extreme to the other extreme, where it’s either what we have now or the practice of playing a group of local-based players exclusively to look at them and ask them to prove themselves. That strikes me as a ploy to ensure that the local- based players fail, ensuring it’s business as usual and another scamper or two or three up to England to try and convince some more unwilling players to “try Jamaica”. Impractical solution Mr Stewart and others have proposed the formation of a local-based squad to be kept in training. I think that suggestion has actually outlived its practicality since the majority of the best players are based overseas. It is highly unlikely that Jamaica will be able to afford the luxury of playing a full local team on a consistent basis. Therefore, middle ground should be found. There are local-based players who can make at least the Jamaican squad on merit if they are given a fair chance. Kemar ‘Taxi’ Lawrence and Hughan Grey are testament to that. They got a chance, grabbed it. It would be great to see players like Dino Williams or Allen Ottey from Montego Bay United get some significant playing time with a full-strength team around them. Same for players like Ricardo Morris from Portmore United, or Vishunal Harris from Arnett Gardens, or Chevonne Marsh from Cavalier, or any other promising young local-based player as identified by the coaching staff. Keep them in and around the team and manage their development. My theory, however, hinges on the technical leadership of the football, having faith in the talent and potential of these local-based players. Sadly, that faith is non-existent at the moment.
Top nine Premier League free transfers of the decade Oxlade-Chamberlain suffers another setback as Klopp confirms serious injury Rhodes cancelled out James Chester’s first-half opener for Villa early in the second period and struck the winner with his seventh of the season to ensure defeat for visiting boss Dean Smith in his second game in charge.Swansea came from behind in a 3-1 home win against Blackburn for their first victory in four.Charlie Mulgrew’s first-half penalty, after Kyle Naughton’s foul on Amari’i Bell, gave Rovers the lead, but the Swans turned it around through goalkeeper David Raya’s own goal, Connor Roberts (68) and Bersant Celina (85).Millwall hit back to beat Wigan 2-1 and secure their third league win of the season thanks to Steve Morison’s late winner.Shaun Williams’ penalty on the hour, for Reece James’ foul on Aiden O’Brien, cancelled out Jed Wallace’s own goal in first-half stoppage-time and Morison struck with eight minutes remaining.Wigan’s Josh Windass blazed a 58th-minute penalty over the crossbar. Here is the best from Tuesday night’s action in the Championship.Sheffield United missed out on the chance to go top of the league after Joe Allen’s late free-kick saw them held to a draw 1-1 at home to Stoke. ADVICE Allen and Stoke are 17th in the table Every time Ally McCoist lost it on air in 2019, including funny XI reactions Leon Clarke’s first goal of the season midway through the second half appeared to have clinched victory for the Blades, but Allen buried an 88th-minute free-kick into the bottom corner.The Blades, beaten at Derby on Saturday, are second in the table behind leaders Middlesbrough on goal difference.Boro were held to a goalless stalemate at the Riverside by Rotherham, who have drawn four of their last five league games and registered their first away point of the season.Jordan Rhodes scored twice as Norwich made it back-to-back wins with a 2-1 home victory against Aston Villa. Forbes list reveals how much Mayweather, Ronaldo and Messi earned this decade This is Dean Smith’s first defeat in his second game in charge of Villa Latest Football News huge blow RANKED Ronaldo warned Lukaku how hard scoring goals in Serie A would be before Inter move 2 Which teams do the best on Boxing Day in the Premier League era? no dice 2 REVEALED Where Ancelotti ranks with every Premier League boss for trophies won Son ban confirmed as Tottenham fail with appeal to overturn red card BEST OF QPR made it four games unbeaten as they won 3-0 at home against Sheffield Wednesday.Tomer Hemed and Luke Freeman scored with headers in either half and Nahki Wells added a late third to secure Rangers back-to-back wins, while Wednesday slipped to two straight defeats.Birmingham extended their unbeaten league run to 10 matches and secured their third straight win with a 2-0 victory against Reading.Gary Gardner gave Birmingham the lead early in the second period and Lukas Jutkiewicz headed their second with 20 minutes remaining.Garry Monk’s Blues have climbed up to ninth in the table, while Reading have lost three of their last four. REVEALED MONEY