Chairman of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) Technical Committee, Rudolph Speid, is expressing grave concern for the state of the country’s national youth programs, which continue to be adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following a lengthy delay caused by the onslaught of the global coronavirus, the men’s senior national team returned to action with a set of fixtures against Saudi Arabia last month.
The youth and women’s teams are, however, yet to resume play. The youth footballers have been further impacted by the fact that local premier football and Manning Cup, in which several of them take part, are also yet to resume action.
With the next edition of the FIFA U-20 World Cup set for 2021 and the CONCACAF U-20 Championship expected to be held sometime next year, Speid believes the lack of activity all but ensures the country has no chance to qualify and could, as such, be considered losing out on a generation of talent.
“The foundation of our development is the Manning Cup that was also not played, so for the under-20s those players would have been training from April to December, so you are talking about eight months of training gone right there,”
Speid said in a recent television interview.
“Also, the premier league is not being played for them to be able to sharpen up themselves, so that is again going to be a problem for the qualifiers with no match fitness, no match sharpness,”
“It’s like we are giving up on trying to qualify for the Under-20 finals unless the age group players get some football in.”