Western Grandstand : Let’s invest in some promising young midfielders
After watching the recent friendly game between Jamaica's Reggae Boyz and their United States counterparts, I was left with serious mixed feelings. While it was not difficult to accept the 1-0 loss, I was terribly disappointed with our midfield play, which was non-existent for the most part.
Having a good midfield unit in football is tantamount to having a good engine in your car. It is the linchpin that creates cohesive path between 'offence' and 'defence,' which is critical if one hopes to get a team to perform at its best.
If the midfield unit is extra creative, crafty and firm, this could be considered an additional weapon in terms of adequate defensive cover in the back; and extra ammunition in front in the quest to create as many goalscoring opportunities as possible.
On the converse, a team having a very tame midfield, which appears to be the case with the current Reggae Boyz outfit, is like having a wounded soldier on the front line in a war his intention might be good but because he badly incapacitated, he has basically become a 'place holder.'
I find our midfield situation quite pathetic. Except for Jermaine Hue, on the odd occasion in recent times, our midfield has been starved of real magic and is a far cry from what we had on display in our successful Road to France campaign in 1998.
Surely, we have no one today who could be remotely compared with the crafty Ricardo 'Bibi' Gardner, the rock-solid Peter 'Jair' Cargill and the wily maestro Theodore 'Tappa' Whitmore, who all had the ability to hold their own against world class players.
Who could ever forget the Brazilian defender Junior Baiano resorting to on-field violence (a clothes line tackle) to put the brakes on the dazzling 'Tappa,' who was basically running rings around him in a friendly game between Jamaica and Brazil.
Having had the opportunity of seeing some of the best midfielders that Jamaica has produced, to include the likes of the great Allan 'Skill' Cole, Lenworth 'Teacher' Hyde, Peter 'Dove' Marston, Alton 'Noah' Sterling, Derrick Dennicer, Hector Wright, Whitmore, Cargill, Gardner and the robust Winston 'Twinny Bug' Anglin, it is difficult to accept the current situation.
Since it is quite apparent that we are unlikely to get anything worthwhile out of the current crop of players occupying our midfield, I would suggest that coach Whitmore should go the route of trying to find promising young midfielders from the schoolboy circuit, as he has done with young Cornwall College striker Jourdaine Fletcher.
To me, it would make much more sense to invest in youngsters, who are likely to get better with age and experience, than to keep on using the current crop of players, who are now so proficient at bad passing that at times it leaves one to wonder whether or not they are involved in match-fixing.
I know Whitmore might earn the wrath of the management of some of the top clubs if he should bypass their so-called 'stars' and go for the schoolboys, but that should not be a real bother because he already knows, through past experiences, that regardless of what he does, he will still not get their honest support.