Our Football As Trinidad Captain Saw It

Ken Hill
Date Published: 
Jamaica Gleaner

Forward Line He Should Dread. Best Half-Back Line He Met.
Merits of Club Sides: Types Of Game of Montego Bay And Kingston.

Impartial criticism given in a kindly and well meant spirit never does harm. So shortly before he
sailed from these shores with his victorious team, I again sought the opinion of Mr. Wilkinson, Captain of the Trinidad Football Team, on certain aspects of Jamaica football as revealed in the series only just concluded.

I once more found Mr. Wilkinson to be a frank and helpful critic.

His answers to the questions I put to him, set out below, should prove encouraging, and be of assistance to us in the future.

It is too early to start thinking of the possibility of our being invited to send a team to Trinidad ?

"What does the Captain of Trinidad think of Jamaica football?," I asked him, as he packed his bags.

The answer was prompt. Without hesitation, Mr. Wilkinson said: "I think Jamaica suffers from a plethora of talent. There are so many people from whom to choose that it is indeed a difficult job for any selection committee to decide which will be the best combination.

"Speaking personally and not as Captain of the Trinidad team,


the possibility of having to meet a Jamaica team with a forward-line chosen from DaCosta, Sasso, Briggs, Willie Passailaigue, Harvy, McKenzie, Webster, all combining together as perfectly as did the Trinidad forward-line in the second half of the last Colony match. I did not mention DeLeon as centre-forward, because with the introduction of the new offside
rule, I really believe that his distribution of the ball as centre-forward is wasted in that position. In the St. George's match, he was to a large extent responsible for the danger threatened by McKenzie at inside-left, and although he is undoubtedly possessed of plenty of dash, it would appear to me that his proper role is rather that of inside-forward, than of centre.

"I want to make it perfectly clear that, in discussing the merits or prospects of Jamaica foofball. I refuse to consider any individual as apart from a team, because if a forward-line is dependent to a very large extent on any particular individual, the proper marking of that player by an opposing defence leads to the comparative incompetence of the whole of the forward-line as a scoring power. So that in discussing the half-back position, I prefer to state which was, in my opinion, the best half-back line which Trinidad had to face through
out the series, because the halfback line, functioning properly, can make or mar a team's prospects. Therefore. I have no hesitation in saying that the best


as an entity which Trinidad had to face was that of Parke, Marley and Lopez in the Kingston match. That is borne out to a certain extent by the fact that the single change in that line in the last Colony match considerably affected its effectiveness, particularly in the latter half of that match.

"At the same time, I would like to pay tribute to the effectiveness of Chevannes in the St. George's match. As centre-half, he played a superb game. It is impossible for me to say that
the St. George's half-back line, as a line, was superior to the one already mentioned, if only because in the second half of the St. George's match, the Trinidad forward-line was reduced to four, through a pure accident for which, in my opinion, no one in particular was to blame. A less enthusiastic player than Chevannes would never even have attempted to stop L. Henderson in the course his run. Whether his introduction as centre-half would still further improve the half-back line, referred to before it is not for me to say, but can only be proved by thorough tests by the J.F.A.

"It is sufficient for me to say that the full strength of Jamaica, working together as a team in perfect harmony, against Trinidad's best, functioning similarly, would provide a game as sterling as, or even more so than, the last Colony match."

Replying to a question put by me as to what he thought of D. Peter, the St. George's full-back, Mr. Wilkinson said it was very difficult to say, because Peter was a youngster playing alongside a very experienced player in the first Colony match, and any youngster must make mistakes. It did strike him, however, that Peter kicked very clean and sure. His only weakness, in Mr. Wilkinson's opinion, seems to lay in certain inability to decide whether to come forward or go backward. To be caught in two minds is as fatal to a footballer, particularly a full-back, as it is to a cricketer, was Mr. Wilkinson's view, and a youngster representing his colony in a representative match has far greater responsibility than a forward.

Chin Fatt, the other St. George's full back, Mr. Wilkinson thinks, is very good, in spite of the handicap in height.


"What do you think of the strength of the respective side in the club matches?" I asked.

"In my opinion," said Mr. Wilkinson, "the most team work was exhibited by the Sherwood Foresters. As for the other clubs, Kingston and St. George's, it is very difficult indeed, and would be decidedly unwise for me to express an opinion as to their respective merits as revealed in their display against us in that although St. George's defeated us by two goals to nil it must be born in mind that, for the greater part of the second half of the St. George's match, we were reduced to ten men.

"It is worthy of note that McKenzie, at any rate in my opinion was far more effective in the St. George's forward-line than he was when playing for All-Jamaica. Passailaigue scored for Kingston with one of the best shots of the whole tournament from outside the penalty area. The St. George's goals were scored from much closer range. It is not for me to decide as to the respective merits of excellent shooting from outside the penalty area, and clever combination leading to goals from close quarters.

"St. George's strike me as being, when in form, more brilliant, but Kingston, day in and day out, as being more reliable. St. George's seem to me to be more capable of greater heights and greater depths than Kingston, but Kingston seem more capable of a consistent level."

"Against what civilian club was the stronger side fielded by Trinidad?" was my next question.

Mr. Wilkinson: "It is very hard to say, because if Maynard does not play in the full-back line it is very difficult to say whether Galt or Jones would provide the better partner to Merry."

He recalled with me, however, that the forward-line which played against St. George's was the same that ran All-Jamaica off its feet in the second half of the final Colony match.

It was now perilously close to sailing time, and I could hear "Reggie" Matcham, who "moved" the team on board, protesting restlessly.


Nevertheless I posed this last question: "How does football in Montego Bay compare with football in Kingston, to your mind?"

Before answering, Mr. Wilkinson qualified what he had to say with the remark that his experience of football in Montego Bay boiled down to a solitary game, "With regard to pure football ability or inability," he continued, "it is difficult to say whether the Montegonians themselves play as correct a type of game as the Kingston clubs. This difficulty may be due partly to the fact that the nature of their own ground hardly permits of the accurate playing of a type of football which will be effective on a more sympathetic surface or a ground more level than theirs is.

"It would seem to me that the Montegonians depend chiefly on quickness off their mark and efficiency in the air and the Kingston clubs on accurate ground passing.

The interview ended, I again congratulated the Trinidad Captain on his success and the success of his team. Mr. Wilkinson said he hoped to see us soon again. I wonder what he meant by that!