Too much foot­ball for school­boys

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORTS -

THE FLOW Su­per Cup is liv­ing up to the pre­c­om­pe­ti­tion hype gen­er­ated by a re­ally pro­fes­sional mar­ket­ing blitz. The com­pe­ti­tion pits the eight zone cham­pi­ons in the ru­ral daCosta Cup com­pe­ti­tion against zone cham­pi­ons in the metropoli­tan Man­ning Cup. The ini­tial set of games is so ar­ranged that it en­sures that it is ‘coun­try’ ver­sus ‘town’. This for­mat at­tracts large at­ten­dances at games and serves ei­ther to deny or con­firm the widely held be­lief that the ‘town’ schools are bet­ter funded and coached than their ‘coun­try’ coun­ter­parts. The or­gan­is­ers at FLOW, the gen­er­ous spon­sors of this com­pe­ti­tion (dubbed the Cham­pi­ons League of school­boy foot­ball), have se­lected the Mon­tego Bay-based Cather­ine Hall com­plex and Kingston-based Sabina Park as the venues to be used dur­ing this week­end com­pe­ti­tion. Good choice, as it en­sures that the in­nate skills of the boys are given a chance to shine on a stage that will be tele­vised and broad­cast to the nation. Ev­ery gen­uine fan of lo­cal foot­ball has be­moaned the lack of proper play­ing sur­faces used for dif­fer­ent and var­ied com­pe­ti­tions in Ja­maica. But the hi­er­ar­chy of the Ja­maica Foot­ball Fed­er­a­tion has ap­par­ently de­cided to con­cen­trate the ma­jor­ity of its re­sources in (what is now con­firmed as a fu­tile at­tempt) to buy our way to the World Cup Fi­nals us­ing ‘for­eign’ sources. But I di­gress. That is for another col­umn. This year’s FLOW Su­per Cup com­pe­ti­tion has lived up to the hype, as the eight matches played over the week­end have seen the ex­pected blowouts and, of course, an up­set. The first half of ev­ery match has pro­vided a com­pre­hen­sive insight of the un­be­liev­able tal­ent of our young­sters. We do have good LO­CAL foot­ballers and, in­deed, good LO­CAL coaches!

LIT­TLE TIME TO RE­COVER

There is re­ally no need for ‘plas­tic’ Ja­maicans to rep­re­sent our coun­try in in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion. But, as one would ex­pect in any foot­ball match, the sec­ond 45 min­utes of the matches seen on the week­end pro­vided ev­i­dence that our young boys are just play­ing too much foot­ball. Man­ning Cup, Walker Cup, daCosta Cup, Ben Fran­cis Cup, Oliver Shield and FLOW Su­per Cup mean that the bet­ter school­boy foot­ballers have very lit­tle time to (a) re­cover and (b) pay the req­ui­site at­ten­tion to the whole pur­pose of school, which is to get an ed­u­ca­tion that will equip them to be pro­duc­tive cit­i­zens once school is over. The many stops for cramps, in­juries and in­ex­pli­ca­ble tech­ni­cal lapses of young­sters (who ear­lier in the sea­son were guar­an­teed to put away sim­ple goalscor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties), can only be ex­plained by ex­haus­tion, men­tally and phys­i­cally. Pro­fes­sional foot­ballers in the very pop­u­lar English Pre­mier League protest in no Ja­maica Col­lege’s Dono­van Dawkins wards of a chal­lenge from Claren­don Col­lege’s Dono­van Noble dur­ing their FLOW Su­per Cup match last Satur­day. Claren­don Col­lege won 1-0.

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