Sports Editor's Diary

Keith Brown
Date Published: 
Jamaica Gleaner

Jamaica-Trinidad soccer

JAMAICA'S victory over Trinidad though decisive, was not spectacular. In fact it was not one of Jamaica's great victories, but we all feel proud of the team's achievement for it has proved beyond doubt that Jamaica's football has come of age.

No one could doubt after the first ten minutes, that Jamaica's soccer standard is now far ahead of Trinidad's. Against the fleet Jamaicans, playing the 4—2—4 formation which has become the major pattern in local soccer since the arrival of coach Jorge Penna, Trinidad's long-ball, square defence pattern seemed almost ancient.

One could not help but wonder, for here was Trinidad, Jamaica's arch rivals of many years, being outmaneuvered and completely outplayed. In seven years, the worm has made a dramatic turn and there can be no argument now as to the top team among West Indies territories.

In the past despite the margin of victory both teams played the same kind of football and victory went to the team which made the best use of scoring opportunities and had the fitter team. Quite often too 'Lady Luck' had her considerable part to play.

On Thursday night Jamaica was out of class. Individually and as a team we were visibly superior and it was only that terrible penchant for relaxing when on top that prevented the score from being 8—0 instead of 4—0.

We have produced some of the world's greatest athletes and Barbados some of the greatest cricketers the world has known and today while our cricket coaches seem unable to find cricketers of world class, football talent abound in our youths.

If Jamaica enters the Under-23 competitions against the top soccer nations in the world, I venture to predict that our success would surprise our most ardent fans.

Jamaica can field an under-23 team on par with our present national team in six months. We would not have the services of Lascelles Dunkley, Larry Wynter, Frank Brown and Henry Largie but our resources are adequate and we could give a strong account against the under-23 teams of many nations. Last year Kingston College were beaten 1—0 by a top team from Brazil — the leading soccer nation of the world and then the All Schools held them to a draw.

The JFF would do well to give this under 23 idea some thought.