Sport

Player development should have roots in clubs — Wint

BY SEAN A WILLIAMS
Deputy Sport Editor

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

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Though he is still getting his feet wet as general secretary of the cash-strapped Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), Dalton Wint is unfettered in casting his views regarding the nation's football.

His vision, shared and singular in nature at times, is what shapes the arguments that flow from his lips. Like most servants of the game, he wants only the best.

Among the things he is passionate about seeing changed is the strengthening of the clubs, which he thinks has a key role to play in developing the game.

Wint, an electrical engineer by trade, says the club structure and the local Premier League must be re-evaluated and repackaged for maximum impact across the football spread.

The new general secretary thinks the local club structure is not efficient enough, therefore the quality of the talent output has fallen short of what is required to upstream to the national programme and big clubs overseas.

“In terms of the development of our local-based players, it's not their fault that they have not been developing at the pace they should, it is the fault of football administrators here because we don't have the product.

“In fact, we have one of the worst Premier Leagues in the Caribbean, and how can we be leading the Caribbean when we have a league where our players are not properly paid and where the infrastructure is poor.

“To further my point, how many of our Premier League clubs have a goalkeeper coach and a physical trainer? Fact of the matter, the basic things are just not there. And why? Because the clubs have no money. So until we create that product that partners can buy into, this is where we are at,” said Wint on the offensive.

To underpin the reality, the Manchester football executive says while the Manning Cup and daCosta Cup competitions “are our best and most supported programmes”, it represents logic in reverse.

“That shouldn't be. It should be the clubs and the top league that are growing our players. Schools can't sell and buy players, they are into it for recreation. Therefore, selling and buying players is the business of clubs, but they are not operating like a business, and until we start to treat this like a true business, then this is where we are going to be,” he said.

The football administrator said all parishes will be mandated to have youth competitions for male and female from Under-13 all the way through to boost grassroots development.

Strengthening the parishes' player base will in turn benefit the national programme.

“We have to make sure that some of the money coming in from FIFA goes to the parishes to ensure that these programmes can be carried out,” Wint noted.

While there may be a reduction in the focus of relying on overseas-born players to boost Jamaica's ranks, Wint thinks it will never fully be a practice of the past until there is a quantum leap in the rate of producing the highest quality talent at home.

“When we start to develop our local players the right way, then we would not have to keep looking outside,” he noted.

“We are not saying that those players born overseas and qualified to represent the country shouldn't, but we must make sure that they are better than what we have at home. So we have to make our players better to create opportunities for our home-bred youngsters to play for the country,” Wint reasoned.

He pointed out that while the JFF may be responsible for the overall governance of the game on the island, its primary responsibility is not to develop players from the ground up; which is the responsibility of clubs.

“We (the JFF) is not in the business of developing players like that, it's the responsibility of the clubs… we are mainly in a facilitatory role,” he said.

Wint, as he has done before, calls on the state to pull its weight in finding ways to assist the process of growing the game.

“The Government must play its part and create the facilities… I think the same way they negotiated with the Chinese government for example to have highways built here, they can do the same for sporting facilities.

“We need to have at least one proper sporting facility equipped with proper and sufficient seating and all the attending amenities in each parish where families can come out and feel comfortable to pay their money to watch matches,” he noted.

With CONCACAF's new thrust to enforce its new club licensing system and a proposed professional franchise structure here in Jamaica, Wint foresees a bright future with full implementation.

“There is some resistance to the franchise system in particular, but we have to change,” he concluded.

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