Winfried Schäfer, Jamaica senior men’s national football team head coach, is yet to receive his salary for the month of November. Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) president, Captain Horace Burrell, said up to Friday, the tactician had not been paid and that the federation was seeking funds to fulfil its obligation. “As it relates to Coach Schäfer’s salary, we have not yet paid Coach Schäfer,” Burrell said bluntly. “This is the first time we have not been able to pay, and such a long time over. He was due on the 25th (November) and we are not seeing the payment in December. “We have not paid him for the month of November and we are concerned. He is not a happy man. He needs to get his funds and we are hoping that this situation will be resolved shortly,” he said. He said the federation has been working around the clock trying to secure the funds needed to compensate Schäfer, but remains confident its calls will be answered. “We are in need of sponsorship support because the financial burden on the federation is extremely heavy. It is a very challenging period for the federation, but we will do our endeavour to make it work,” he added, noting that it has 11 teams to finance, several of which have been travelling for competition recently. OPTIMISTIC FOR SUPPORT “Sponsors we have talked to, many have said that in their new budget year in March, but I am optimistic that closer to the time, we will get some support. We are trying our very best, working around the clock and doing our endeavour best to see the type of support that we are able to garner to help. “But it is a challenging time and we welcome all the help we can get, because when glory comes, it doesn’t come just to the JFF it comes to the entire nation,” he added. Burrell said it was a very active year for national teams, of both genders, at the various age groups and travelling and accommodation for these competitions proved very costly. “I have to be frank. There is no other sport where so many young people are involved at the national level. We had 11 national teams that participated in competitions (this year). Others (sporting bodies) have one or two national teams. We had 11, with some 35 people travelling at each time, as you must have a full team, doctors, physios, equipment people, and that is what makes the difference with these delegations, and the cost of travel and hotel accommodation amounts to millions of dollars,” he explained. “The nation has to realise that our nation’s football is women and men. Not so long ago, we had to abandon the female programme in order to stay alive because of the finances, and that is the last thing I would want to do. Our women deserve an equal chance and we certainly are not looking to cut our women’s programme. Our ladies deserve the opportunity to display their talent the same way our men do,” he said.
The pleasant aroma of a Jamaican high school boasting its own synthetic track still hovers. Three weeks ago, the Calabar High School family was so blessed, kicking off by hosting a track and field meet in honour of two of its most illustrious sons, Herb McKenley and Arthur Wint. The atmosphere was electric, so many students of the sport voicing views as to how the wider arena of the sport could benefit. To say that the future is pregnant with possibilities would be a most appropriate conclusion. For the homesters, the reality of this new day and how the facility upgrade can positively affect the fortunes of the school, must have been up for active consideration. With four straight (titles) already secured, it could sound the trumpet on the start of a dynasty of Champs successes, only achieved by the Kingston College (KC) 1962-1975 reign. The execution and maintenance of Champs glory comes with inbuilt, stiff challenges. The long standing major contenders, the two mentioned and Jamaica College (JC), must optimise their chances by having access to top class facilities for preparation. Before the Red Hills Road ‘newbie’ surfaced, all three had to access the only city convenience, the National Stadium East, when it was time to sharpen up. This would have added great expense. The fact that Calabar now stands richly endowed in this area must give them not only incentive, but advantage. Foster’s Fairplay suspects that they are eyeing an unbroken run similar to the Fortis crew. Already, there is in-camp talk of ‘having it locked’ until 2021. Five more would ensure them the honour. It would be a proud bunch, as was that cohort of not-often seen ‘Bar Lifers’, who flocked to the new track on Saturday, January 23. However, all these C’bar black and green dreams could be thwarted by their closest and ever-persistent rivals from Old Hope Road and North Street. Those responsible for fundraising at these two heavyweights, must now be knocking heads and pockets to unearth that J$50 million to follow suit. Occupying their minds, must be thoughts that “this Calabar take-off is to be commended, but a strident response is essential”. CROSS PARTICIPATION Having said all that, Foster’s Fairplay has been made aware of an ill wind that is blowing over cross participation of athletes in this or that meet. It is a pleasing tribute to the advances in the sport that the calendar offers multiple options on any given weekend. Choices must be made by team management as to where the athletes should go to seek the competition that is required. Achieving the qualifying marks for Champs is also a major factor. If it means a squad split, taking in different locations, so be it, as long as selected requirements are met. Unfortunately, there are instances when these decisions are known to be made for questionable reasons. This columnist has heard, coming from at least two camps, sounds that are unwholesome to the ear. To cite, “Oh, so I support you and you do not support me, so I will no longer give you my support”. This is not what the country or its most globally prominent sport should be trying to build or maintain, and which it inevitably will be called on to repair. No one benefits from this malice aforethought. This columnist will leave it at that for now. There is no desire to destroy reputations for fair play that could be long and burdensome in rebuilding. The baton of abatement must now be passed to the custodians of high school sports. These are the principals. Working as the oversight group, they are known to be strident in the execution of their duties in several other areas. Rightly so, but these include pockets that are doing well, and in the view of Foster’s Fairplay need no meddling. This columnist sees the cauterising of confrontational thoughts, as mentioned, as matters for urgent attention. As the process streams towards the gala event – Champs – let there be a resolve to participate in the meets which best suit the particular programme. It should never be out of spite or a payback for a perceived wrong. High School sport is so sweet. Do not try to spoil it. – For feedback email firstname.lastname@example.org