And just like that, after suffering a 1-0 defeat to perennial sports betting fans’ title favourites USA in the quarter finals of this year’s Gold Cup, the Jamaican national football team said goodbye to CONCACAF’s most important tournament. But unlike in other Gold Cup tournaments where the “Reggae Boyz” were just out to put on a solid performance and come home, this year’s edition took on a different meaning.
With the Qatar 2022 final qualifying stages coming up, Jamaica’s national football team, led by former local player and legend Theodore Whitmore are gearing up for a qualifying run with what many experts and analysts see as Jamaica’s best class and generation of football players since their 1998 World Cup team, one in which Whitmore was a part of. With all this said, what are the main keys for Jamaica to fully succeed in their hopes of reaching the Qatar 2022 World Cup tournament?
Jamaica Needs To Continue Bringing Home Their European Talent
In a utopian scenario a team like Jamaica’s national football team would be one of the absolute giants in CONCACAF and with ample reason. If all the Jamaican born players that have gone on to represent England would have taken on the challenge to instead play with the “Reggae Boyz”, the likes of players like John Barnes, Andy Cole, Sol Campbell and most recently Danny Rose, Kyle Walker and Raheem Sterling would have all shined with the yellow and green of Jamaica’s jersey. Sadly, that has not been the case, but Jamaica has still managed to live through it and come up with some very solid generations of football players.
With the Qatar 2022 final qualifying rounds nearing closer and closer, Jamaica is now in a position of power, one that it hadn’t had experienced before with more and more english ridden Jamaican born players coming back to play for the national team instead of opting and waiting out for a chance to be capped by England.
Players like West Ham’s Michael Antonio, Watford’s Andre Gray, Reading’s Liam Moore and Swansea’s Jamal Lowe have all come answering the calls from the Jamaican national football federation in hopes of earning one of the qualifying spots for next year’s FIFA World Cup tournament. Players like Everton’s Demarai Gray and Mason Holgate are two other players expected to come play for Jamaica instead of waiting for an England call-up.
Jamaica’s top football heads not only see the advantage in being able to bring players of said caliber to play for Jamaica in these upcoming crucial qualifying stages but also as a dire need in order to be able to level the competition and playing field. With The USA, Mexico and Costa Rica, all usual favorites for CONCACAF’s World Cup spots all going through generational changes, it’s time for Jamaica to gain a leg up in the competition and level up with its opponents. Just like the US is raking the benefits of all its European based players like Pulisic, Dest and McKennie, Jamaica can do the same and find success.
Jamaica Needs Seriousness and Commitment From All Parts Involved
One of the main issues that has stopped Jamaica from making it back to the biggest football tournament of them all, the FIFA World Cup tournament, has been the mismanagement and lack of true compromise and commitment from all parties involved in the dealings of Jamaican national football.
From stand-offs between executives and players regarding wages and prize money for tournament participations to episodes of favoritism for some players over others, all these have been issues that have tarnished Jamaica’s efforts to come back to world football relevance.
Jamaica is in the footsteps of being able to have one of the absolute best generations of players in their history, some might even argue about it being better than that historic France 1998 WC squad and this time with a local coach leading the helm.
It is upon the Jamaican National Football Association as well as all players involved to come together and play for a common good. Players like Leon Bailey, Kemar Lawrence and company are all in the best shape and playing career of their lives, it would be a crying shame if their talents are not put to the best use.
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