Sports Editor's Diary

L. D. Roberts
Date Published: 
Jamaica Gleaner


JAMAICA'S clean sweep of the recent soccer series with Trinidad was a good achievement, and should give the game here a well needed lift, especially having regard to the indifferent season we had. The victory was against players who have had the benefit of first-class and regular coaching as part of the development plan for soccer in the colony.

The success of the Jamaica team, led by captain Franz Alexander, on the forward line, is an indication that our soccer is on the up-grade, and the selectors must feel pleased with the results. But encouraging as Jamaica's victory was, the Jamaica Football Association should apply themselves to a serious study of the lessons learned from the series. They could them make a more positive approach to build a side on a proper structure.

That Jamaica won all three matches despite the obvious selection experiments goes to show what vast potential there is around for the moulding of a formidable national side.

It is not good enough that defence players had to be used as wing forwards. It is neither fair to the players nor the team to use players out of their regular positions, and surely the wise plan should be to construct a national team, instead of merely improvising to meet a situation.

The Jamaica defence is sound. What we now need is a well-knit forward line. Schloss tried in the centre, did not make an impressive debut in representative soccer. It was good that the selectors did not discard him after the first match, and he was left out the third match because of injuries. Too many of our young promising players have been thrown aside after one failure.

From Jamaica's standpoint the most heartening feature of the series was the impressive debut in intercolonial soccer, of the St. George's College Olivier Shield and Manning Cup captain, Anthony Hill, on the forward line, and the Melbourne right back, Walter Chevannes. Both are on the Jamaica team to stay. Hill made many fine openings at inside right, while Chevannes was Jamaica's outstanding player in the series.

There are many more useful youngsters, who if given the opportunity, would also establish themselves as front-rank players. But the trouble seems to be that the selectors do not attend matches often enough to assess the ability of these players. For the fact of the matter is that there is really not very much to be gained from trial games since the players are really too keyed up to give of their best.

Alexander did a good job in leading his side to victory, and also played well on the forward line, where his bustling tactics succeeded because of the brand of soccer that was played. While he added thrust to the frontline, the fact that he was not one hundred per cent fit denied his giving the side the full benefit of his tactical leadership. But just the same he did well, even though Ken Galt, president of the British Caribbean and Trinidad Football Associations, did seem generous in his tribute to Alexander for his performance.

The arrangements for the tournament were satisfactory, and JFA president, Winston Meeks, and secretary, George Abrahams, deserve special mention for a good job.