What have you done for me lately?
Following in the wake of the Reggae Boyz's dismal showing in the 2016 Copa America Centenario Cup, which saw our campaign ending with the team suffering an embarrassing 3-0 loss to Uruguay, I have heard many calls for the firing of coach Winfried Sch%0fer.
However, unlike some of my media colleagues, I don't believe that Schafer is the problem and that firing him will fix our football programme, which is now a disaster. As I have been saying in this column for quite a while, if Schafer is not provided with the tools required to do his job, I can't see him being a success.
When Schaefer was introduced to the Jamaican people by Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) boss, Captain Horace Burrell, he was introduced as a football coach, not a magician. I therefore believe it is quite unfair to be chastising him for not doing magical things.
First, as I stated in a recent column, it must be nonsense of the ultimate magnitude to have Schaefer based in Jamaica and the players he is supposed to be coaching based in the Europe and the United States, where the only time he sees before two or three days before a game is on television.
The big question those who are chastising Schaefer and calling for his head should answer is, based on the existing arrangement, where and when is he supposed to prepare the team to get them technically and tactically ready while creating the chemistry required to operate as one cohesive unit.
One of the major strengths of the 1998 edition of the Reggae Boyz was the fact that, because the vast majority of the players were based here in Jamaica, the coach was able to get them to gel into such a tight and well drilled unit that the players were able to communicate on the pitch even without much talking and gesticulating.
Additionally, because the players were playing in the local premier league while campaigning for Jamaica at the international level, the quality of their play was constantly improving and the spillover effect on the premier league, forcing the other players to improve in their quest to compete with them.
Unfortunately, because the JFF has allowed the premier league to become a rubbish competition, the current crop of players are woeful in terms of quality and as a consequence, I share Sch%0fer's assessment that they are 'not ready' for international football, hence the need to keep looking to England for players with Jamaican connection to represent Jamaica.
Based on their scandalous performance in the recent Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Championship, it is clear that, like our home based senior players, the national Under 20 team is also a woeful lot. Clearly, we cannot blame Schaefer for their lack of quality so we might well put the blame where it belongs and that is on our weak structure to promote youth football outside of the daCosta Cup and Manning Cup.
It is my humble view that instead of trying to blame Schaefer for the inefficiencies of the JFF, we should be collectively calling for the heads of the various parish associations, who have stood by and allowed the JFF to squander all the football capital we gained at the World Cup in France 98.
As far as I am concerned, if there is to be any firing, it must start with JFF boss, Captain Burrell, because like it or not, the buck stops at his desk. As Janet Jackson asked in one her big hit songs, what we should be asking Captain Burrell and the current JFF administration is, "What have you done for me lately?"