(Jamaica Observer) DEEP BAY, Antigua — JFF boss Captain Horace Burrell did not mince words when he lashed the performance of the Reggae Boyz in the ongoing CFU Caribbean Championship.
“I’m disappointed. I’m livid. I have never seen such shambolic football and there is no excuse for it… the players must take responsibility,” Burrell told the Jamaica Observer after Jamaica were eliminated from the tournament with a 1-0 defeat against Cuba on Wednesday night.
The JFF president targeted the local-based players, many of whom failed to measure up in a tournament they had the opportunity to make theirs.
“They did not show the quality and it’s just an embarrassment to me and the country to come to a tournament like this and play so badly… many of these local-based players have been calling out for the opportunity and they got it and now they blew it,” an impassioned Burrell said.
He said going forward, the role of the overseas professionals will become even more important as the Boyz begin their final push for a place in Brazil 2014, which starts with an away match at high altitude against Mexico on February 6, next year.
“It’s obvious that we have to continue to draw on the experience and quality of our players plying their trade overseas and it’s clear that we have to focus on the established talent to take us forward.
“This is not to suggest that we are closing the door on any local player showing the aptitude, but based on what was on display here, it makes you wonder if the local Premier League is churning out the quality,” an obviously disappointed Burrell said.
He said only one local-based player impressed throughout the three games where Jamaica lost 2-1 to French Guiana, 0-1 to Cuba and between that labouring to a 0-0 draw with group winners Martinique.
“That young man showed that the country is capable of producing quality, the way in which he applied himself in that central defensive role showed that in him is a future prospect for Jamaica… it would be the greatest feeling for me if I could say the same for all the others, but sadly I can’t,” Burrell lamented.
The CONCACAF executive committee member said even a second-rate Jamaica team should be able to come to the Caribbean tournament and shine, which makes the experience even more painful when one looks at the calibre within the 23-man squad of MLS players and those playing on continental Europe.
“At our stage of football development, even a ‘B’ team should be able to come and do much better than what we have… what we saw has made us the shame and laughing stock of the Caribbean,” Burrell stated.
The visionary behind all of Jamaica’s World Cup appearances at varying levels said he has ordered the chairman of the JFF Technical and Development Committee, Howard McIntosh, to do a post-mortem of the tournament and for a report to be prepared for presentation to the board of directors in short order.
Having not qualified for the final four here, the Boyz effectively squandered an opportunity to be at the confederation’s premier competition, the CONCACAF Gold Cup to be played in the USA next summer.
“Having qualified for the final round of the World Cup qualifiers and not being in the Gold Cup is not an easy one to swallow. But the show must go on and we have to now look at getting friendly matches and to possibly do some tours to get the team together as often as possible,” Burrell ended.