In a culture that believes that talent reigns supreme, the value of good playing surfaces is sometimes underestimated. Recently, government embarked on a programme to improve the quality of high-school playing fields. Something similar is needed for football and cricket fields if players are to properly learn the skills they need. Bumpy fields make it impossible for them to control the ball and pass it at the required level of proficiency. Perhaps, in exchange for a tax concession, companies involved in landscaping could be invited to help in this area. The target would be to renovate at least one football field per parish each year and provide the expertise and staff to do the maintenance. The next critical element is the establishment of a national playing philosophy. Our biggest asset is sprint speed, and a style that embraces that asset may well suit Jamaica best. This may run at odds with our love of Brazilian and Barcelona football, but beauty can have many faces. Whatever style we choose, it should become the template for all of Jamaica’s national teams. That would allow newcomers to the senior team to fit in seamlessly. Once this choice is made, choosing players from the diaspora will be much easier because the selector will be looking not just for good players, but for those who will fit. The wholesale elimination of players from the diaspora could also eliminate the exposure they have received elsewhere. Lest we forget, Paul Hall, Fitzroy Simpson and Deon Burton, all based in England, boosted Jamaica’s drive to qualify for the 1998 World Cup with their competitiveness, professionalism and skills. The door should never close on such an input. The same logic applies to home-grown players who ply their trade abroad. Instead, an overall programme of work should be undertaken to improve Jamaica’s football. Better- coached players on better fields working together within a playing philosophy that suits Jamaica, will work much better. It will take time, but it needs to start now. – Hubert Lawrence has made notes at trackside since 1980. Talent reigns supreme Picking a national squad solely of local players isn’t going to save Jamaican football. The issues facing us on that field of play are too wide-ranging for that. The football fraternity will have to look itself in the eye and build a structure that produces quality play. That will take time. Pegging success to qualifying for the 2022 World Cup may be a mistake, too, as it may force the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) to rush or overlook key elements in the development process. To be fair, some work has started with the certification of many more coaches in recent years. The requirement that coaches must have FIFA certification to train high-school teams is a plus. The pay-off is better-equipped players in the future. Those who organise preparatory and primary- school football might be well advised to adopt similar regulations. Such a move would ensure that aspiring players adopt good technical habits early in their acquaintance with the game. As we all know, bad habits can be really hard to break.
Newsome sets focus on helping Bolts open new PBA season on right track LATEST STORIES Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Michael Porter Jr. stays patient as playing time increases OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ’a duplicitous move’ – Lacson Jiro Manio arrested for stabbing man in Marikina Almazan vows to comeback stronger after finals heartbreak MOST READ “If it’s just striking, I’ll be able to keep up with him. But I’m sure that if we face off against each other, he will bring the fight to the ground, so it’s really my ground game that I have to improve on,” he said.If a title shot comes his way, he knows that he has to make a huge sacrifice of skipping one semester in his hotel and restaurant management course at the University of the Cordilleras.“Maybe, I’ll stop for one semester so that I can train well. I will really pursue that and prepare well in our trainings.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ’a duplicitous move’ – Lacson Nonito Donaire vs Naoya Inoue is BWAA 2019 Fight of the Year Photo from ONE ChampionshipCareful not to get ahead of himself in his chase for glory, Joshua Pacio wants to first test his mettle against the weight class’ top contenders before being primed for a title shot.The 22-year-old fighter was victorious over Lan Ming Qiang in their strawweight clash in the co-main event of ONE: Global Superheroes on Friday at Mall of Asia Arena, but he admitted a championship shot is the least of his concerns at he moment.ADVERTISEMENT “I’m not thinking about it yet,” he said. “For me, I want more fights to gain more experience. I want to face the elites and prove myself.”Pacio, who improved to 14-2, name-checked Japanese contenders Yoshitaka Naito and Hayato Suzuki, the only two fighters who have beaten hi, as his next targets to gauge his real progress.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folk“I want to face them again and see if I’ve already improved,” he said.Joshua Pacio doesn’t want to face ONE Strawweight Champion Alex Silva just yet as he seeks a rematch against Hayato Suzuki and Yoshitaka Naito — his lone defeats in his 14-2 record. @ONEChampionship pic.twitter.com/TZyHiN7jUB — Randolph B. Leongson (@RLeongsonINQ) January 26, 2018Pacio, though, said he won’t hesitate if ONE decides to pit him against reigning ONE Strawweight Champion Alex Silva in his next fight.“If ONE decides that I’m worthy of a title shot, I’m still very willing,” said Pacio, who could join the ranks of Honorio Banario, Eduard Folayang, and Geje Eustaquio as members of Team Lakay to hold a title in the promotion.Pacio is confident that if he does get the nod to challenge Silva, he’s capable of holding his own against the champion.ADVERTISEMENT Bittersweet as Cousins injures Achilles in Pelicans’ victory over Rockets Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View comments