I desire, in this campaign to get to Germany in 2006, a collective
effort towards devising a clear-cut strategic plan.
I always cuss these Dookeran-esque terms that have suddenly
become quite popularstrategic plan, directional
plan, transformational plan, etc, the point
being that if it is a plan at all then there ought
to be inherent a strategy and a direction; the concept of
a plan presumes strategy and development towards
specific coherent goals.
The choice of language certainly indicates where our deep
problems dwell, even with our so-called intellectuals. Nevertheless,
our intention at all times in discussing football is to make
a plug for intelligent and purposeful functioning that would
ensure we pay regard to process.
In all my pieces I called first and foremost for structural
coherency in our football from cradle to grave and a
board of coaches to implement this process.
I demanded that coaches at all levels of the game be made
to work in unison and not at cross-purposes in order to produce
the national product we desire and that the erratic approach
to the management of football be curtailed forthwith.
I have even gone as far as to identify the most likely source
of this erratic approach and postulated that even though this
very source is the greatest asset to our football, we must
have the testicular fortitude to demand the curtailment
in football of what Jamaicans in their culture have for years
described as one-man-ism, precisely because it
is addictive and like a disease spread and filter down to
very last bitch and his brother.
I warned that we will go nowhere in football without our full
comprehension of what process and collectivisation
Both Gally Cummings and Bertille St Clair in the past have
exhibited the negative attributes of listening to no one,
of failing to consult, and as a result failed after some initial
success. Nevertheless they have proven to have been the best
of the crop, but now that Bertille is once again in charge
will he ever seek assistance from Gally?
Since the Digicel Cup debacle, I have read in the newspapers
that the Technical Committee of Lincoln Phillips, Alvin Corneal,
Mohammed Issa and others will be meeting with Bertille to
discuss and come up with ways and means to deal with the obvious
deficiencies. Thats a good and timely start.
And if the little magician, Latapy, is offering his services
as a coach, we should welcome that. He will bring fresh ideas.
After all, he is the only person to represent T&T from
a tender age to adulthood and was captain of the team at each
stage. I do not know anybody else in the world who has such
a track record.
I suggested before that our problems lie in two main areas,
ie technical incompetence and poor marketing. The technical
matters we saw as revolving around the following:
The need to perfect a structure to suit the players we have.
It is foolhardy, for instance, to attempt a structure that
demands two wing-backs when in fact we do not have any consistently
competent ones available to us.
The key to the game is about possession of the ball and
capable passing of the ball in which the question of timing
and judgment is of the utmost, yet to date there are few players
in the present teams who can do this, even some of those who
are professionals abroad.
Defence of territory and spatial off-the-ball running and
positioning are crucial basics that we lack. However, these
aspects of our game must become instinctive in order to guarantee
forward movement and the competent switching from attack to
defence when we lose possession. All this comes to the fore
if and only if an appropriate structure is working.
Our players must develop first-touch control of the ball.
Reaching the World Cup is not a possibility without this capability
and any national coach who proves unable to accomplish this
requirement will be a failure. If however this requirement
is fashioned from very early at the lower levels, the national
coach will not be so burdened.
Football is about chemistry; the players need time to work
together and to gel as a team. In that sense the professionals
cannot be the backbone of the team. A locally-based team has
to be built over time with the professionals playing their
roles as time permits. Even so the professionals themselves
will perform much better when placed in context of a team
that is truly a team.
The other question is marketing. We are yet to intelligently
work out a marketing plan. We need about $50 million to properly
prepare the team. We cannot depend solely on government; neither
can we depend solely on inputs from the private sector. In
addition to these sources we must create an international
plan to sell our team.
Back in that 1999, I suggested the mass production of a video
highlighting our football history; the great clubs of the
past; the travesty that took place in Haiti; the building
and preparation of the Strike Squad, replete with music clips
and performance clips. To this we can add Bertilles
handling of the team in the Gold Cup, and Portafields
first round in which we defeated Mexico.
We also recommended the marketing of our well-known professionals;
we suggested the images of Latapy, Yorke, Shaka and Stern
and their accomplishments on 500,000 jerseys to be sold at
We have to market the team and we have to start now to coincide
with the technical decisions that we all hope will be made
shortly. Enough said.