Pick players from EPL says Fitzgerald

April 05, 2016

Former Waterhouse and Rivoli United coach, Calvert Fitzgerald, claims Jamaica's inability to qualify for a FIFA World Cup since their first and only appearance in 1998 is because the Reggae Boyz are playing with too many substandard English-born players.

Fitzgerald noted that during the nation's only successful campaign, the core of the team was made up of local players which included talents such as goalkeeper Warren Barrett, Ian Goodison, Linval Dixon, Steve 'Shorty' Malcolm, Ricardo Gardener, Gregory Messam, Peter Cargill, Theodore Whitmore, Onandi Lowe and Walter Boyd, with the added touch of quality English- born players such as goal scoring hero Deon Burton, midfielder Fitzroy Simpson, Robbie Earle and Paul Hall.

However, he noted that since then the policy has been reversed, where English-born players get first call for the national team, even though their abilities are far below the level of what is required to get to the World Cup regularly.

At the same time local players are snubbed and only get the occasional invitation to train with the squad.

Fitzgerald argues that this system needs to be revised and calls on the Jamaica Football Federation and coaching staff to revisit Rene Simoes' philosophy - the best local talent with quality overseas-born players.

"From '98, every World Cup campaign since we have brought in English players because of their professionalism and discipline. But it has failed for 20 years and I don't think we think we should continue with it.

In order for us to reach another World Cup, the only foreign-based players in our team must be players in the premier division in their country. If they are not good enough to play in the English Premier League, they are not good enough to play for Jamaica.

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