Sport

Gaynor resolute on allocation of JFF resources

BY IAN BURNETT
Sport Editor

Sunday, July 16, 2017

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San Antonio , Texas – Interim President of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), Bruce Gaynor, says he's prepared to face any backlash when he invests the federation's resources in local parish associations, clubs, and, by extension, the nation's youth.

Gaynor was recently voted in by the executives of the JFF to lead the local governing body for 60 days up to the congress slated for mid-September, following the death of long-time leader, Captain Horace Burrell last month, and he assured the Jamaica Observer that there would be a shift in focus.

“Before I leave (office), irrespective of what happens, I'm going to ensure that there are some changes, in continuing Captain's (Burrell) vision,” declared Gaynor.

He added: “Things that he might not have done, might have thought about it but he did not take those risks because of one reason — he wanted immediate results. I'll take the licks, but I'll have to invest in clubs and invest in parish associations, and by investing in our parish associations we are investing in our youth from eight to 18,” he said.

Under the new FIFA administration led by President Gianni Infantino, a FIFA Forward Programme will see US$500,000 per year going to each member association for administration, while US$750,000 will be given to each member association for specific projects such as new facilities and women's and youth football.

Gaynor was adamant that more meaningful time had to be spent on youth development.

“No longer can we give the parish associations a sum of money and tell them that they are going to put on youth tournaments for two months. It has to be an annual thing where a full summer programme is in place with our youth, and for the rest of the year at least once per week, every Saturday, with the parish associations.

“We need to identify and develop elite players. We now have a Centre of Excellence (UWI JFF Captain Horace Burrell Centre of Excellence) that can hold 52 beds and we must use it up, and the only way we are going to use it up is if we have elite players… this is a Centre of Excellence, so we need persons with talent,” continued Gaynor, a former executive of Seba United, now Montego Bay United.

He argued that many coaches who visit the island are very impressed with the talent pool that resides there… “but what is our problem?” he asked.

“We lack endurance, we lack discipline and we lack the fortitude to really train hard,” Gaynor suggested.

“Those are three of our biggest problems and once we solve those with continuous training… every Saturday the youth go out and they play ball, every Sunday they go out and play ball, but if you organise a training session everybody starts to grumble and frown, so what they don't have is the discipline and once we put that in place we are going to see changes,” he reasoned.

Gaynor also spoke to the long-proposed plan to establish a franchise system for the country's elite league. A proposal, that has yet to receive the full backing of many stakeholders.

This system would drastically change the current structure of the game at the premier league level, with the aim of implementing a fully professional system to replace the current semi-professional operations.

“Our investment in our elite clubs means we must go franchising… we must go franchising,” he repeated.

“Over the years, the JFF has an annual income of possibly $500 million on our books, the largest percentage of that is used on the senior team travelling and playing games. If we make up our minds, because Jamaica must field its best team, and the best players will come from abroad and in Jamaica, but it doesn't have to be 20 players coming from abroad, we must identify players locally and train them to be as good as anybody else, to be ready to be a part of our elite players, and those investments will come from our income and from the private sector,” he said.

The St James businessman reflected on the successful “Road to France” campaign when the government and private sectors played a key support role during a period when a number of senior players attached to overseas clubs were brought home and paid the equivalent of what they earned overseas. For him, that policy made those players more committed to the cause, and he believes that the time is rife for another policy decision to be made which will reflect changes concurrent with the times.

“The changes that we need to take have to match with the current times or we will be in serious trouble and Jamaica can't get up every day and bawl that the Reggae Boyz not this and the Reggae Boyz not that, and not be willing to invest in it.

“The biggest investors in any football programme around the world are the spectators, and they must buy into it and you saw on Sunday (in San Diego) where every Mexican in the stadium wore a Mexican replica shirt, as well as the El Salvadorans. For the few Jamaicans there everybody had on a yellow shirt, and those yellow shirts were from every different manufacturers you could imagine, so we need to change that.

“Maybe it was because our marketing had not been what it was supposed to be because we don't have these shirts available for the public, but we need to sell these things to the public and the public needs to buy into it.

“We need to start supporting the team because the only way the team is going to survive is if we come out and support,” Gaynor noted.

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