Thu | Jul 29, 2021

‘JFF dropped the ball again’ - Bradley Stewart criticises federation for training camp blunder leading to cease and desist order

Published:Tuesday | February 9, 2021 | 12:22 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer
Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz in training at the UWI/JFF/Captain Horace Burrell Centre of Excellence at the University of The West Indies Mona Campus on Tuesday, August 27, 2019.
Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz in training at the UWI/JFF/Captain Horace Burrell Centre of Excellence at the University of The West Indies Mona Campus on Tuesday, August 27, 2019.
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Former national senior men’s football team assistant coach, Bradley Stewart, said the cease and desist order placed on the Reggae Boyz’s training camp by the Government on Friday has put a further dent in the ambitions of local players with...

Former national senior men’s football team assistant coach, Bradley Stewart, said the cease and desist order placed on the Reggae Boyz’s training camp by the Government on Friday has put a further dent in the ambitions of local players with national team aspirations.

Stewart said the local-based Reggae Boyz are already low in the selection pool for head coach Theodore Whitmore’s squads for the upcoming Concacaf Gold Cup and FIFA World Cup qualifying tournaments while most of the team’s overseas-based players are fully active and up to match fitness.

“Local players are really behind the eight ball,” Stewart said. “I don’t think they are even in the starting blocks. But all local players have an passion to play for the national team but this does not give them much of a chance.

“Every local player wants to be on that national squad. They know if they can be seen for five minutes, it’s possible a scout out there looking on will like what he sees.

“So they are missing an opportunity to get contracts for our players and this is because there isn’t any serious concern from those that run the football about the livelihood of our players.

Stewart said that the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) has a history of mismanagement regarding preparing squads for competitions and this latest controversy is no different.

“They stopped the camp so they (JFF) are waiting on the go-ahead from the Government, but who gives approval,” he asked. “It is a combination of ministries. So how is it that they went ahead without making the necessary checks to get the thing approved?

“It only adds up to the kind of inefficiency that we have experienced from this administration over a long time.”

Although Stewart said it is important to give local players opportunities to keep active, he says that Whitmore should be spending more time assessing his overseas players and plan how to fit them into his system.

“Coach is being gracious to invite a set of local players to camp,” Stewart said. “What should really be happening now is he should be going overseas to look at players and see how capable they are so he can put them in a system, based on what he sees them doing at their clubs.

“He should be looking at their strengths and weaknesses, compared with local talent, and make his shortlist by watching them play.”

ASSUMPTIONS

A source at the JFF, who spoke to The Gleaner on condition of anonymity, said that the federation assumed it could convene the camp as it had previously received approval for previous training camps.

The source, however, said that the players in the camp who returned negative COVID-19 results grew frustrated by the uncertainty surrounding the resumption of the camp.

“The minister of health gave us permission to train, so the JFF thought they could train,” the source said. “So they only informed them (Government) that they were training, as they didn’t know they had to reapply.

“When the players stopped training, they got frustrated because there were cooped up in a building and not training, so they left and went back home.

“Only the (two COVID-19 positive) players were quarantined and are still in camp. The others did their tests and it returned negative and they have gone home.”

livingston.scott@gleanerjm.com