uncertain manner when schedules require them to play three matches in seven days. Yes, professional adult males.
Yet we (constantly) demand that our young Jamaicans play three matches weekly “because we have to complete the competition before the end of the school term”.
The lives and future of our children are being sacrificed on the altar of blatant commercialism.
At what point do we the people say to the organisers of schoolboy
football ‘no mas’, ‘no more’?
We can reduce the number of games played by the ‘better’ schools by (a) dividing the Manning Cup and the daCosta Cup into two tiers, with promotion and demotion based on their placing in the previous year’s competition, or (b) mandating that players be restricted to the number of games played in any football season.
There is many a precedent for this. The legendary football icon, Lindy Delapenha, caused the hierarchy of a concerned ISSA in the late ’40s to restrict the number of events a child could compete in at Champs,
which played a significant role in preserving his health.
Delapenha is alive and well today, after a pioneering role in getting players of colour to play in the EPL.
The paucity of local schoolboy ‘star’ players going on to represent their country can be traced to burnout and lost opportunities when football trumped scholastic study.
Other countries have found interesting ways of mandating the number of games children play in any one season of a sport. We do not have to reinvent the wheel. We owe it to our children.