Tue | Dec 5, 2023

JFF to focus heavily on grass-roots level in 2023

Gen Sec Chung: We want to get football into the lives of people from early

Published:Tuesday | December 27, 2022 | 1:07 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer
JFF General Secretary Dennis Chung
JFF General Secretary Dennis Chung

General secretary of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), Dennis Chung, says the federation will be focusing on the game at the grass-roots level next year.

The JFF recently made an initial handover of gear and football equipment to the St Joseph’s Infant and Primary School after a request for assistance from Ryan Geohagance, and Chung revealed that the handover was just the first step in a large-scale plan to energise grass-roots football and place a greater focus on talent development.

Chung pointed out that the federation’s biggest challenge is at the grass-roots level.

“Grass roots is so important to us is because that is where our challenge is. We have a good high-school programme, so we want to emphasise a lot on grass roots for next year and on talent development,” he stated.

The federation followed that initial handover with other contributions to parish associations to give to their clubs. Some gear and equipment will go directly to schools while the majority will go to the parish associations for allocation.

“There is going to be more. That (presentation to St Joseph’s) was just an initial handover. We have been getting out a lot of the equipment that has been in stock instead of letting it stay in the storeroom,” he disclosed.

“We want to get football into the sports curriculum and lives of people from early. That is going to be a big emphasis for us.

“Every club belongs to a parish. We give the equipment based on the number of clubs that are properly registered and let them (parish FAs) manage that.

“We might be going to some primary schools directly, but mostly, we want to go through the parishes because we want to have a means of distributing things so we do not have to do it directly from the JFF all the while,” he reasoned.

At the recent JFF congress, president Michael Ricketts announced that John Wall, senior team assistant coach, would take charge of grass roots, talent identification and development.

He also noted that they have made it clear to sponsors that they require resources for grass roots and development programmes.

Chung insists the three programmes under Wall’s portfolio are integral to the long -term development of local talent.

“We will also be developing programmes through our football centre at the University of the West Indies. Once we identify the talent, we will bring them in and help to nurture them. We believe football can have a huge social impact, and we want to use that as one of our themes going forward.

“We want a change because football is one of the biggest sports in the world, and we want to make it big in Jamaica because we see that a lot of people can benefit. But we want to develop the complete person. So talent development for us will be more than just football. It’s developing a person that is prepared for life. We want to help people to develop and give them the opportunity, and we are going to be pushing that with FIFA, Concacaf, and Adidas,” he said.