Sports Editor's Diary

L. D. Roberts
Date Published: 
Jamaica Gleaner


FOR THE THIRD time this year, Jamaica welcomes a tour from Trinidad, with the arrival on Thursday afternoon last of the St. Mary's College footballers for a series of matches with Jamaican school teams and a Colts team at Sabina Park, under lights.

In February last, we had the national soccer team of Trinidad here, when Jamaica won the series. And now their schoolboys have come to test the strength of the game in our schools.

Trinidad's women's hockey team were victors in the triangular hockey tournament here in October, in which British Guiana was the other competing colony.

While each colony naturally goes into the field with victory as the objective, in the final analysis the main thing that matters is the spirit in which the game is played and the friendship and goodwill that can emerge from such tussles. This column is happy that these objectives have been achieved in the tournaments so far, and is confident that the tournament now in progress will also maintain that high level of friendly rivalry and pleasant relationship, and at the same time be productive of a keen and entertaining brand of football for the enjoyment of the public.

This visit of the St. Mary's team is another significant milestone in the local history of one of the most popular outdoor games in the world.

It is good that such a visit should come about, and full marks must be given to the Football Associations of Trinidad and Jamaica for imaginative planning and to the Jamaica authorities for undertaking the responsibility of promotion.

The occasion merits special notice because it is the first time that boys from Trinidad are meeting their Jamaican counterparts at football, and that under lights, a medium to which both sets of players are unaccustomed.

Nothing but good can come out of this tour, which should prove beneficial to the soccer of both countries, since many of today's schoolboys are potentially tomorrow's club and national stars. Thus, this one would like to see the current series serve as the forerunner for similar tournaments, both in Jamaica and other West Indian islands.

The soccer fans of Jamaica, many of whom avidly follow the fortunes of the alma mater in inter-school competitions will undoubtedly welcome this chance to compare the local standard of school football with that of Trinidad.

Another aspect of this visit that few perhaps have thought of but which, with a view of Federation, is a real one, is that tours such as these can help to bring West Indians closer together or keep them apart. The boys are at that age when early impressions are not easily erased from memory, and we do hope that those given to and left by our visitors will be good and true ones.

While on the subject of the St. Mary's visit. It is pleasing to note that the protest by certain elements in the Jamaica Referees' Association to appointments of referees for the series, is no more than a storm in a tea cup.

The letter from the JRA published in yesterday's Gleaner clears the air so far as the JRA's views on the matter are concerned, and this column is happy to learn that the protest was not based on grounds of race or nationality.