Holding the faith! - Local footballers still hoping to play this season

April 27, 2021
Dr Akshai Mansingh
Dr Akshai Mansingh
FILE
Jermaine Johnson dribbles the ball during a Red Stripe Premier League match against Dunbeholden at the Edward Seaga stadium on October 20, 2019.
FILE Jermaine Johnson dribbles the ball during a Red Stripe Premier League match against Dunbeholden at the Edward Seaga stadium on October 20, 2019.
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Local Premier League players still have their sights set on playing some football this season despite the uncertainty that surrounds the staging of the competition due to COVID 19.

No domestic football has been played in Jamaica since March 2020 and despite efforts from the Professional Football Jamaica Limited (PFJL) and numerous government promises, nothing has materialised to date, leaving stakeholders frustrated and demoralised.

Although time appears to be running out fast, and some stakeholders are calling for the season to be aborted, players are still hoping to play some football this season, no matter how limited.

Tivoli Gardens veteran star Jermaine 'Teddy' Johnson, who is in the twilight of his career, is hoping to see some football in order to assess if he should carry on playing or go full time into coaching.

"Right now I am at the end of my career. If it (league) plays it will be good for me. But if they scrap the league and decide to start it whenever, it would still be good for me because I will be going into coaching soon.

"But I would like it to be played to see how my body feels and see if I could manage another year," he stated.

Has not been too positive

However, signs of the league getting approval has not been too positive thus far, although Johnson remains hopeful that something will come through.

"It is going to help the younger players who are trying to get in the national team because the qualifiers are coming up soon and they want to try their best to get in the team.

"COVID-19 has stopped a lot of things and they are concerned about the health. So it is kind of rough. Hopefully, it starts and we can get something going in the little short time we have," he said.

Harbour View defender Ajeanie Talbot said the situation is getting dim but even as he acknowledges that, he is hoping for at least one round of football.

"I would love for football to play. Even one round of football is better than no football for me. As a young player, I have dreams of playing overseas and the only way for that to happen is if football is playing. So we want at least one round because one round is better than no football," he said.

He pointed that he has missed out on many opportunities because he is not playing.

"A lot of things could have happened that have not happened because I am not playing. My agent is talking to clubs and they are asking if I have played recently and I missed out on travelling with the national team. So I am definitely missing out on opportunities," he continued.

"I still have hopes of the league playing. Based on how things are going, it doesn't look as if any league is going to play, but at the same time I am still motivated and hoping for the best," he said.

Dr Akshai Mansingh, dean of the faculty of sports, at the University of the West Indies, said although it has been proven that any sports can be held in any situation, it would have been difficult for the Government to restart football, which is considered a high-risk sport, during the spike in COVID-19 cases since the start of the year.

"We have gone through a very severe spike that seems to be settling down. We do recognise that there has been a resumption of sports.

"But football is classified as high risk and in Jamaica more so because the players come from communities, they get on public transport to get where they are going and they get on public transport to get back home.

"Then the sport is a contact sports, which is also a high risk, so they do pose a high risk from where they come and what they do," he stated

Mansingh who recently assisted in designing the local Premier League bubble proposal to submit to the Government, said the resumption of local football would require a sort of bubble.

livingston.scott@gleanerjm.com

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