Sun | Dec 5, 2021

We are hopelessly hopeful

Published:Monday | October 18, 2021 | 12:09 AM


Jamaicans are truly a hopelessly hopeful people, and it’s a condition necessitated by the realities people have allowed, and created.

From citizens hoping only government effort can eliminate crime, to the nation’s leader hoping a criminal can do what he should, and now hoping the Reggae Boyz can progress through the World Cup qualifications. This hope is an insanity-induced trip, as Jamaica’s football has always been living in the past and hasn’t seen a new dawn.

For years, Jamaican football atrophied while Captain Horace Burrell was president of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF). There was more stagnation than progress, while players’ transition from schoolboy league to national league to national team felt uninspired.

I was hoping for new blood and methods to be injected after Burrell’s exit. However, the ball deflected to a Burrell contemporary. There’s still no State programme to prepare, develop and aid youth players’ transition from the school system into the professional. Unlike vaunted European teams, national grass-roots programmes to find and nurture promising talent are non-existent, due to corruption and no foresight.

It is irksome to hear every four years about Jamaica’s qualification for the 1998 World Cup as everyone tries to relive the ‘glory days’.

Sports analysts over-analyse the decades-old memory of a short-lived stint on the world stage. The current football system is different, and we haven’t progressed with it, abetted by the various issues the island contends with.

The recent two-nil win against Honduras – one of the poorest Central American countries and dealing with similar societal issues like Jamaica – shouldn’t get anyone excited, much less hopeful. It was just a fluke.

The JFF should relieve themselves of the vestiges of the past and salvage whatever remaining pride they control, or else Jamaican football will continuously fail. It’ll be another lifetime before any hope becomes reality.