Fuller pleased with op­por­tu­ni­ties for lo­cal Reg­gae Boyz

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORTS - Liv­ingston Scott/Gleaner Writer

FOR­MER NA­TIONAL striker Ri­cardo Fuller, is heart­ened to see lo­cally-bred play­ers com­ing through the se­nior na­tional team ranks once again. Since qual­i­fi­ca­tion in 1998, Ja­maica has re­lied heav­ily on re­cruit­ing English-based pro­fes­sion­als at the ex­pense of tal­ented lo­cal play­ers.

How­ever, Fuller, a prod­uct of lo­cal foot­ball and one of the most ac­com­plished Ja­maica-born-and­bred play­ers in in­ter­na­tional club foot­ball, hav­ing rep­re­sented renown English clubs such as Southamp­ton, Crys­tal Palace, Portsmouth, Black­pool, Charl­ton Ath­letic, and Stoke City, where he re­ally made his mark, said it is a ‘breath of fresh air' to see young, tal­ented play­ers com­ing through the na­tional team again.

GAME STILL ABOUT WIN­NING

How­ever, he ar­gued that the best play­ers must be given the op­por­tu­nity whether they are lo­cally­based or over­seas born or bred, be­cause the game is about win­ning, and teams need their best play­ers to have a greater chance of suc­cess.

"It's a breath of fresh air for me to see lo­cal born play­ers com­ing through in abun­dance again. Get­ting into the na­tional set-up, mak­ing the cut, mak­ing the grade. I am a prod­uct of it (lo­cal foot­ball). I was born and bred in Kingston, played for Den­ham Town Pri­mary and Cam­per­down High, played for Tivoli Gar­dens, went to Eng­land on trial and achieved what I achieved. So it can be done.

"But foot­ball is about your best play­ers. It doesn't mat­ter if they are lo­cally bred or born over­seas. Foot­ball is about putting your best team on pa­per on the field to achieve vic­tory. If you are a man­ager and you are not get­ting vic­to­ries, you will be sacked. So it is about putting your best team for­ward, whether they are born lo­cally or in Eng­land. But if the play­ers play­ing lo­cally are bet­ter than the play­ers abroad, they will get their chance to play. But it is nice to see so many play­ers com­ing through, with so much po­ten­tial," Fuller told The Gleaner.

Fuller, who serves as Dig­i­cel's school­boy foot­ball am­bas­sador, called on cor­po­rate Ja­maica to give the Ja­maica Foot­ball Fed­er­a­tion the fi­nan­cial sup­port it needs to qual­ify for a sec­ond World Cup.

"We need more fi­nance, and part of why we qual­i­fied in 1998 – a big part of the pro­gramme, was the sup­port of pri­vate-sec­tor com­pa­nies," said Fuller.

"Pro­fes­sional foot­ball is about be­ing a pro­fes­sional. This is what th­ese guys do for work, so they must get ad­e­quate pay. Get the pri­vate and pub­lic sec­tors in­volved, with ev­ery­one work­ing to­gether and putting in the fi­nance we need, make the trips we used to make, get the ex­pe­ri­ence and the ex­po­sure, gym ses­sion, nu­tri­tion pro­grammes, sports sci­ence; all th­ese thing we have to com­bine in foot­ball to achieve win­ning. If we do that, I think we have a great chance of qual­i­fy­ing. Foot­ball needs money, and foot­ball makes money , and it will be bet­ter for the coun­try, and we will have a bet­ter chance of qual­i­fy­ing," Fuller said.

FULLER

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