Western Grandstand : Give Fletcher a chance to go and grow
After a fantastic 2016 schoolboy football season, in which he walked away with the coveted 'golden boot' award and earned selection to the national senior team, former Cornwall College striker Jourdaine Fletcher was seemingly on course for a bright future in football.
However, within months of joining the elite band of players, with the enviable distinction of representing the national senior team while still at school, the proverbial wheel seemed to have fallen off Fletcher's wagon. After starting his Red Stripe Premier League career with a bang, scoring a brilliant goal on debut for Montego Bay United Football Club (MBUFC), his career has hit a snag.
With reports coming out of the MBUFC camp that Fletcher was ducking training and proving difficult to deal with, his growing collection of fans got a major surprise when he was dropped from the Reggae Boyz team after he reportedly showed up to a training camp in very poor physical condition.
After disappearing from the spotlight for several months, Fletcher has resurfaced and is now seeking a transfer from MBUFC to east Kingston outfit, Harbour View FC. However, based on reports, the MBUFC management has told him an emphatic "no," once again leaving his career in limbo.
If I had any influence over the management of MBUFC, I would urge them to let him go, and not because I don't consider him a valuable asset to the team.
I believe Montego Bay has become a major distraction for Fletcher, and a change of environment might be just what he needs to get back on track.
In addition, going to Kingston will also provide Fletcher with new opportunities, to include furthering his education at a top-flight tertiary institution. While many may argue that he wants to become a professional footballer and not an academic, a tertiary education could still be a useful backup, especially if his football fails to get the desired traction.
While I probably would be a happier if he showed an interest in UWI FC, which would place him in the University of the West Indies, I believe that Harbour View is a good club, and with its rich tradition of getting overseas contracts for gifted young players, a move there might suit him very well.
What I would hate to see is this talented youngster languishing in Montego Bay and not working towards realising his full potential. While Kingston holds no special guarantee of success, if he goes into an environment where he is happy and has a clearly thought-out plan to improve his game and become a better player, I see no reason why he should not succeed.
There is no doubt in my mind that Fletcher can become as good a player as any of the top players we have produced in Jamaica in recent years. His dominance in the last schoolboy football season and his spectacular elevation to the national team speak volumes of his talent.
My hope is that Fletcher will surround himself with the right people. The type of people who will not be afraid to tell him the truth, if he is not putting in the work required to deliver on his great promise. People who will have the courage to tell him the stories of the many stars who have failed because they were not focused.
I would like to see Fletcher's career back on track because, if properly exploited, his talent could one day place him among the elites in the world of football. In addition, it would also help him to remain as a source of motivation and inspiration to many youngsters, who saw him as their idol as he created havoc with Cornwall College last year.