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Let's play!

Wint shoots for more home friendlies, but pleads for fan support

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

In his very own words, Dalton Wint believes friendly international matches are crucial to the growth of the national technical programme.

The newly inaugurated general secretary of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) recognises that these games — played within and outside of the FIFA calendar window — are integral in keeping the senior men's team actively engaged, serve as a trajectory on the FIFA rankings and a potential revenue outlet.

Wint, 52, said the new Mike Ricketts-led administration will be pursuing an aggressive programme of securing friendly matches both at home and abroad for all teams, but more so for the senior Reggae Boyz for obvious reasons.

“The senior Reggae Boyz are the lifeblood of the programme and we are going to have a very aggressive programme when it comes to friendly internationals to keep them engaged,” he told the Jamaica Observer in a recent interview.

The Manchester football official, who succeeded Raymond Grant for the general secretary hot seat, expressed regret that the federation was unable to pin down a game for the wide November window, but disclosed that negotiations are under way for possibilities for the new year.

“Unfortunately, we won't have a game in the November window, but we are in discussions with people regarding friendly internationals and I am confident that before the year ends we will be signing a contract for at least one for the new year.

“And as we hold discussions with possible countries for friendlies, we want to engage teams that Jamaicans would like to see us play, and we will always try to get a couple of those at home,” he shared.

Wint, on his way out as the Manchester FA president, said despite the heavy costs involved and the history of huge losses related to the hosting of friendly games, his administration is committed to bringing some of these games home.

But for that to happen, he is calling on more corporate, government, and most importantly, fan support.

“I think the public will be happy to know that we have decided as a group that we must have local games; it may not be the big numbers you want to see because right now staging games at home is a big loss to the organisation.

“But we recognise that it is important to re-engage our fan base, and I am saying to our fans that don't ask us to re-engage you and when the matches come around you stay away,” he noted.

Wint says support of the team can't only be forthcoming when things are going good, but hammered the point that support is more desperately needed when things are down.

“We want you to know that we need you whether the team is playing good or not because we will need your financial and physical support. Let me make it clear, if you stay away we won't be able to host games in Jamaica,” he said.

Jamaica last played a match at home in a 1-0 victory over Suriname in a CFU Caribbean Cup qualifying game at the National Stadium last November.

In their last two friendly internationals, Jamaica lost 0-2 to Canada in Toronto on September 2 and then 2-5 to Saudi Arabia in Jeddah on October 7.

— Sean Williams