Too soon to tell - Experts divided on home-grown route
Jamaica's advancement to the 2017 Gold Cup final with a team of locally raised players has stirred mixed reactions to the argument made by many local football aficionados that the home-grown route is the best one for Jamaica.
Jamaica will face the United States tomorrow night in Santa Clara, California. Cavalier's technical director, Rudolph Speid, noted that Jamaica had finished third in a Gold Cup with a team of primarily local players as well.
"We have tried it before and it worked. That has always been my cry. Teams that qualify for the World Cup, it is the local coach that qualifies the most and no team has ever won the World Cup that used a foreign coach. When you add all those statistics worldwide, supports it (local coaches)," Speid told STAR Sports.
Alvas Powell and Romario Williams both had a good game on Sunday. Williams came close to scoring in the quarter-final against Canada on Thursday.
"Powell and Williams played in 2011 in the Youth World Cup and they have been stifled because Jamaica insisted on going overseas," Speid pointed out.
Former Harbour View player, Kemar Lawrence, who now plays with the New York Red Bulls, scored the winning goal against Mexico in Sunday's semi-final. Harbour View's general manager, Clyde Jureidini, while being optimistic, said it was too soon to judge if the local route is the right one.
"I think it's too soon, but I think more importantly, we had to restart with the local players, and, hopefully, they will spend more time with this unit. I think local players are a lot better than we had given them credit for," he said.
Jureidini added that international players still need to be included over time, and maybe in fewer numbers.
"There are still others who need to be included over time. In time, they will still select a few high-quality overseas players to add to the core. There needs to be the proper timing and the proper amount. I think we went to an extraordinary length in the past," he said.
Montego Bay United president, Orville Powell, also did not want to say the Gold Cup showing was proof of anything, noting that a mix of local and foreign players got Jamaica to the World Cup in 1998.
"It was a similar formula, it worked and we got to the highest stage. I've been thinking that this is the path we have to get on to prepare our local players. That is the mandate of the JFF to get these young players to that stage that we can have them playing in these sorts of competitions and get these results. To sustain it is what we want and should look at now," he said.
Powell said the most important thing was to put in place a structure, which would support the development of local players.