Natalie Neita-Headley, minister without portfolio with responsibility for sports, is not against the practice of athletes switching allegiance, reasoning that people are going to take advantage of opportunities to improve themselves and their families. While she is not against the switch, Neita-Headley – while in attendance at a press conference to launch LIME-Flow’s $28 million sponsorship of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Associa-tion (JAAA) – warned that the country must protect against a certain level of talent drain. Over the past few months, up to five Jamaica athletes have declared their intentions to represent other nations, which has caused some public backlash. However, Neita-Headley said because of Jamaica’s rich talent in athletics and other sports, some local talents would have limited chances to represent the country, especially at major championships like the Olympics or World Championships. “When we send footballers off after they bad up the (local) Premier League and they get signed to an English club, Jamaicans are happy because an opportunity has been created for a young athlete,” the minister said. “I am not happy for anyone to just leave our shores, but where opportunities arise and persons can take advantage of that opportunity, we should,” she noted. “I don’t want to stifle our young people, to tell them that 12 of you are qualified to run, but you will never make it to an Olympics because you can’t go below 9.7 or 9.8. But opportunities like that exist elsewhere and we must be able to look deeper than the surface. “When the footballers leave, we are happy to let them go to find a new club. Sometimes our teachers leave or our nurses have to leave. So what I’m saying in the case of the athlete is that the JAAA uses this wisdom as to how and when we can do this so that we don’t have a drain on our talent pool,” she stressed. In most, if not all, the recent cases where Jamaican athletes have switched allegiance, they have been offered lucrative payment packages in return for their service. However, Neita-Headley insisted that there is a process to handle these defections and the JAAA still has a say in whether an athlete stays or leaves. “We have to understand there is a process. We have to sign off on these athletes. It’s not like they can just get up and leave. The JAAA has to sign off, and in some cases, they have to wait from one to three years to compete for that country. So it’s not like you can leave today and compete tomorrow,” she pointed out. “But these offerings are probably more lucrative packages than we can afford. “Our talent is sometimes too much for our little country to manage and so we can’t sway our athletes to stay here full time and don’t do anything else,” Neita-Headley argued. “It’s impossible to pay them full time. We are grateful to those who are willing to stay and make the sacrifice and we are putting all in place for them to be able to stay. But even in that period, there are others who will find opportunities elsewhere. The JAAA decides on who goes and when because we don’t want there to be a talent drain,” she reiterated.
LONDON (AP):For a day at least, everything went Chelsea’s way again in the English Premier League.After an unconvincing start to their title defence, Chelsea were given a double boost by beating London rivals Arsenal, 2-0, in a contentious game yesterday and then seeing leaders Manchester City’s perfect start end with a 2-1 home loss to West Ham.Chelsea’s day might have turned out less positively had Diego Costa not stayed on the field after swiping at Laurent Koscielny’s face and then chesting the defender to the ground. Instead, it was Arsenal defender Gabriel Paulista who was sent off when he retaliated by kicking out at Costa after the two scuffled just before half-time – leaving Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger furious.”He will do the same next week and the week after and he always gets away with it,” Wenger said about Costa. “It’s always provocation and he uses well the naivety of (referee) Mike Dean.”The verdict from Chelsea manager JosÈ Mourinho on Costa was more succinct: “Fantastic, Diego. … Man of the match.”Chelsea’s openerChelsea’s opener came eight minutes after the break through Kurt Zouma’s header and any hope of an Arsenal comeback appeared to evaporate in the 79th minute, when Santi Cazorla was dismissed for a late sliding tackle on Cesc F‡bregas.Eden Hazard completed only the second victory of Chelsea’s six-game-old title defence in stoppage time with a deflected shot.Mourinho maintained his unbeaten record against Wenger in a 14th competitive game and Chelsea finally started climbing up the fledgling Premier League.The surprise sight near the top is West Ham in second place after stunning City, the 2012 and 2014 champions. City have 15 points with West Ham and fellow surprise package Leicester on 12.Victor Moses put West Ham ahead after just six minutes with a low shot from distance, the first league goal City had conceded all season. Diafra Sakho doubled the lead in the 31st after a goalmouth scramble from a corner.New signing Kevin De Bruyne pulled a goal back for City on the stroke of half time from 20 yards, but West Ham held on despite sustained pressure from the hosts in the second half.”I think we played too fast in the second half, too rushed,” City manager Manuel Pellegrini said. “You must be more calm, but when you are two goals down it is difficult. We had a lot of chances to score.”It took a second-half fightback at Stoke for Leicester to stay unbeaten, with Riyad Mahrez’s penalty and Jamie Vardy’s strike recovering a 2-2 draw.”It’s unbelievable! For the fourth time in a row, we come back (after conceding),” manager Claudio Ranieri said.It left Stoke winless, like Newcastle and Sunderland, with the north-east strugglers both losing to newcomers to stay on two points.Callum Wilson and Matt Ritchie scored in the opening nine minutes to give Bournemouth a 2-0 win over Sunderland. Watford won 2-1 at Newcastle with Odion Ighalo taking advantage of poor defending to score twice in the opening 28 minutes.”No one said this job was going to be easy and we didn’t think it would be,” Newcastle manager Steve McClaren said. “It’s a tough job … it’s very difficult to turn things round in two and a half months.”At Villa Park, Saido Berahino scored his first goal for West Bromwich Albion since threatening to go on strike after a failed move to Tottenham as his team beat city rivals Aston Villa 1-0.There was only one goalless game yesterday, with Everton striker Romelu Lukaku wasting a number of chances at Swansea.
Last season’s Red Stripe Premier League top scorer, Reno’s Craig Foster, has moved on to greener pastures, which means a new golden boot winner will be crowned this season, and with the season just getting into gear a number of the league’s top marksmen have already made their intentions clear.After five rounds of games Montego Bay United’s Dino Williams sits atop of the goalscoring charts with four. The 25-year-old player leads six others on three goals, including teammate Owayne Gordon. Williams and Gordon have scored seven of Montego Bay’s 11 goals so far this season.Arnett Gardens’ Newton Sterling netted all his three goals in his first game in a 4-0 win over Trench Town rivals Boys’ Town.Portmore’s new sensation Ricardo Morris has also found the net three times already this season, and his fine form has earned him a national senior call-up. He was included in the squad to face South Korea on Tuesday.One of most consistentFor the past three seasons, Boys’ Town’s Rafiek Thomas has proven to be one of the league’s most consistent and prolific striker. Boys’ Town have moved from title contenders to relegation strugglers in the last few seasons but they can still rely on Thomas for goals. It’s no surprise he already has three under his belt.Rivoli’s Corey Burke also has three strikes and appears to be rediscovering his goalscoring form. After an unbelievable first half of the season last year, the Rivoli frontman failed to hit a goal in the entire third round after leading the scoring chart for much of the way.The other striker on three goals is none other than Waterhouse’s 36-year-old evergreen centre forward Jermaine ‘Tuffy’ Anderson. The Waterhouse striker bagged a brace in his last outing to give his team their first win of the campaign. Anderson has won the top scorer award twice in the past and is expected to challenge for the goalscoring award again this season.
MELBOURNE, Australia, (CMC): All-rounder Carlos Brathwaite has praised West Indies’ fightback but believes it will take a “monumental effort” in order to avoid defeat to Australia in the second Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The Windies ended the third day yesterday trailing by 459 runs after being dismissed for 271 in response to the Aussies’ mammoth first-innings total of 551 for three declared. Batting a second time, Australia reached 179 for three at the close to pile even more pressure on the Windies. “From a team point of view, I was happy with the fight that we showed,” said Brathwaite, who is playing in his debut Test. BOUNCING BACK “Ultimately, the game is still very, very far out of our hands, and it will take a monumental effort to bring ourselves back into the game, even in trying to draw it or win it, but that’s a challenge we’ll look at tomorrow.” Brathwaite played a key role in the Windies’ resistance on yesterday’s third day, stroking a positive 59 in a 90-run seventh-wicket stand with left-hander Darren Bravo, who top-scored with 81. The partnership hauled the Caribbean side around from a precarious position of 91 for six at the start. Bizarrely, Brathwaite was given two lives – on 13 and on 50 – after fast bowler James Pattinson dismissed him twice with front-foot no-balls. “Personally, I was a bit fortunate … and I am just happy I could contribute to a fighting day’s performance,” the 27-year-old told reporters. “And I hope that the fans in the West Indies can get to put a smile back on their faces so they can realise we’re not just here for being here sake, and we actually want to compete and do well.” West Indies produced a horror showing in the Hobart first Test to lose by an innings and 212 runs and also struggled on the first two days of the current encounter, allowing Australia to pile up in excess of 500 for the second straight game. HIGH SPIRITS However, Brathwaite said that despite the poor results on tour, the Windies team spirit remained high and players were continuing to work hard behind the scenes. “I think the team spirit is there. Fortunately for me, I see it day in day out, the way we train … the way we operate off the field,” the Barbadian pointed out. “When performances aren’t going well, it is difficult to see energy and how hard guys work, and I don’t think the wider public is seeing the effort we put in, which is unfortunate,” he said. SCOREBOARD AUSTRALIA 1st innings 551-3 decl WEST INDIES 1st Innings (overnight 91 for six) K Brathwaite c Burns b Lyon 17 R Chandrika lbw b Pattinson 25 DM Bravo c Smith b Pattinson 81 M Samuels lbw b Pattinson 0 J Blackwood c & b Lyon 28 +D Ramdin c Burns b Siddle 0 *J Holder b Siddle 0 C Brathwaite c and b Lyon 59 K Roach lbw b Pattinson 22 J Taylor c wkp Nevill b Lyon 15 JA Warrican not out 11 Extras: (b5, lb3, nb5) 13 Total: (all out; 100.3 overs) 271 Fall of wickets: 1-35 (K Brathwaite), 2-50 (Chandrika), 3-50 (Samuels), 4-82 (Blackwood,), 5-83 (Ramdin), 6-83 (Holder), 7-173 (C Brathwaite), 8-215 (Roach), 9-239 (Taylor), 10-271 (Bravo). Bowling: Hazlewood 21-6-49-0, Pattinson 22.3-1-72-4 (nb4), Lyon 29-8-66-4, Siddle 18-3-40-2 (nb1), Marsh 7-4-15-0, Smith 3-0-21-0. AUSTRALIA 2nd Innings J Burns c K Brathwaite b Holder 4 D Warner c Holder b C Brathwaite 17 U Khawaja c wkp Ramdin b Holder 56 *S Smith not out 70 M Marsh not out 18 Extras: (lb7, w2, nb5) 14 Total: (3 wkts, 32 overs) 179 Fall of wickets: 1-7 (Burns), 2-46 (Warner), 3-123 (Khawaja) Bowling: Taylor 3-0-24-0, Holder 11-1-49-2 (nb1), C Brathwaite 6-1-30-1 (w1), Roach 4-0-22-0, Warrican 8-0-47-0. Position: Australia lead by 459 runs. Toss: West Indies.
Jamalco FC and Maverley-Hughenden FC will face off in a top clash in the Jamaica Football Federation-Charley’s J B Rum Premier League play-offs today at Maverley Complex, starting at 3:30 p.m. In the other game, Granville FC welcome Brazil FC in an interesting encounter at Granville United FC, starting also at 3:30 p.m. With the first-round games to be completed, the teams will be hunting points in order to improve in the four-team play-offs. Jamalco lead the way on six points from two games, followed by Maverley-Hughenden (four), Brazil (one) and Granville United – without a point. Rayon Johnson, head coach of Jamalco, said that the game is crucial. “We want to win against Maverley-Hughenden to move further ahead. If we win, it would be three straight and that would push us closer to a historic berth in next season’s Red Stripe Premier League. We don’t know much about Maverley, but the plan is to shut down the key players.” Jamalco’s main players include captain Erron Brown and Andrew Isaacs. On the other hand, Maverley-Hughenden are fully aware that they need to win at home to maintain a good chance of qualifying. “This is a very important game for us. In the game at home to Brazil, we gave up a late goal as the team lost focus. Now, the intent is to get our first win at home in the play-offs and go on top with seven points,” head coach of Maverley-Hughenden FC Lijyasu Simms told The Sunday Gleaner. Maverley-Hughenden will rely on captain Andrew Peddlar, Wayne Williams, Rohan Williams and veterans Kasai Hinds, Locksley Thompson and Roberto Fletcher for victory. In the other game, Granville and Brazil will be hunting full points in order to stay in contention for the two spots to the Premier League next season. Historic berth
Judging from all this, as was the case in previous situations, with Asafa Powell, Sherone Simpson, Melaine Walker and so many high profilers, the MVP door is not a revolving one. Once you leave, you stay out – no room for reconsideration or revisit by either party – rough but real. Returning to Jamaica seems to have brought out a change of direction. The hitherto perceived ‘my way or the highway’ super coach is now singing from a different hymn sheet. Regional track and field exclusive website, Trackalerts.com carried a story: ‘Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce could return to MVP’. The thought was fuelled by a Francis comment that did not typify the no-nonsense, no retreat, no return, academically gifted former accountant. “From what I’m hearing, it looks as if things are not as clear-cut as they were before. It seemed clear-cut back in Rio, but it doesn’t seem as clear-cut now,” Francis continued, “we will see what happens.” That final offering at the Airport welcome ceremony, has sparked the sentiment that Francis is on a different path. Could it be one that accommodates a view leading to dialogue? Jamaica, nor for that matter, the world is not awash with coaches of the calibre of a Stephen Francis. He has been vilified in the past for an attitude that can compromise the fortunes of our most talented. A case in point was that anti-camp face off at the 2009 Berlin World Champs that led to a frenzied pull-out of some eventual medalists. It was only astute and assiduous action by some top administrators that saved that day and the nation’s global image. Every Third World nation deserves to have its best athletes and its best coaches working in tandem to achieve best results. If what we are seeing is real, Foster’s Fairplay welcomes the new and refreshed Stephen Francis. • For feedback: Email firstname.lastname@example.org. NO REVOLVING DOOR Is the sport of track and field actually seeing a new Stephen Francis? Talk is that in recent times, most specifically, after the Rio Olympics, the MVP Track Club’s head coach is displaying a softer side to his personality, previously hidden from public view. Foster’s Fairplay has received a few calls on the matter and is compelled to give an ear to what seems to be real chat. The traditionally highly combative Francis is known for his belligerent stance, taking on the sport’s elite thinkers, adamant to illustrate that he should be included in that lot. His open defiance of, aligned with ranting and raving against, certain edicts from top administrators, has become a feature of the highly spirited interaction with the authorities, while on the cusp of major championships. Usually, the point of discussion rests with compulsory pre-competition camps, which the University of Michigan MBA graduate sees as anathema in respect of the needs of his athletes. Immediately after the crowning of MVP’s new sprinting sensation, Elaine Thompson, as the latest Olympic 100m queen, the dethroned Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, amidst all her grace, elegance and charm, dropped a bombshell. She responded to journalists’ queries in a manner that suggested that all did not go well in her preparation for a momentous event. Her chance of becoming the first ever triple-gold medalist in the short sprint, had been shattered. A series of interviews, revealed that coach Francis was being asked to shoulder the blame for a performance that denied Fraser-Pryce a special place in history. Then came what was described as the “Shelly Shocker” with this newspaper’s special projects editor, AndrÈ Lowe, reporting from Rio that “MVP coach Stephen Francis has confirmed that Olympic 100m bronze medallist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce has lost confidence in the programme and is moving on.” Francis responded: “I am in agreement with her that she should try something different.” This was after another alleged statement suggesting that he held up his hand when the question of Shelly-Ann’s not making the historic cut a few weeks earlier was raised. There was an admission of guilt. “Coaches of the disappointed people, like myself have to take the blame, and I accept full blame for Shelly-Ann not performing the way she expected to.”
Invitation withdrawn West Indies cricket continues to attract the spotlight. Once upon a time – and the memory is dimmed on that – this headline billing was the case, but then it was for the right reasons. Nowadays, it is like the low performance level of the team, more so in Test matches, is stuck with their fans as a constant companion. Even in the shortest version, where the team is supposed to be ‘ruling the roost’, whenever there is a glimmer of hope or a gain in confidence, the inevitable gloom comes hard on its heels. Yes, earlier in the year, under the now deposed Darren Sammy, the World T20 trophy was taken, the second such success on the trot. But a 3-0 washout to Pakistan a few weeks ago was not far adrift. As if all the sordid tales that the region is being asked to embrace, are not enough, here comes the highly reported Darren Bravo remarks. The man who from the onset of his career mimics his idol, the magnificent Brian Lara in so many ways except runs on the board, has run a ‘one short’ on the type of behaviour that should obtain in a working environment. He took to his Twitter account to take on West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) President, Dave Cameron. His ill-timed and ill-advised outburst was on the back of his being offered a C Contract and not the A of which Cameron said he was not worthy. On regional television, the President went on to outline statistical qualifications which, according to him, Bravo had not met. Foster’s Fairplay thinks that to question the boss’ judgement and willingness to speak the truth, is not altogether out of line. It is in keeping with what goes on at the workplace in these more liberal and permissive times. But, it is the view of this columnist, that they must be boundaries. By any yardstick relative to discipline and decorum, it cannot be tenable for a worker, as the batsman is in this scenario, to describe the top man in his organisation in the disrespectful terms in which he did. The tweet read: “You hav been failing 4 d last 4yrs. Y don’t u resign and FYI I’ve neva been given an ‘A’ contract. Big idiot.” The action taken by the West Indies Cricket Board has been to withdraw the invitation to Bravo to be a member of the region’s squad for the upcoming Tri-Nation One Day International Series, which includes Sri Lanka and home team Zimbabwe. The dismissed player will head home to the Caribbean, when the camp in Potchefstroom, South Africa breaks. Foster’s Fairplay has little concern for whether or not Cameron misrepresented the cash amount of the contract that Bravo was offered in the past. That, from where this columnist is positioned, is beside the point. The real issue here is the Trinidad & Tobago-born batting stylist’s post on his social media platform. There are persons who are given the authority to make decisions and rulings that affect the careers, and by extension, the lives of others. Cameron and his colleagues in the hierarchy have been given that role. This is not to say that the workers, one of which is Bravo, must follow slavishly or blindly, all decrees from above. The board supports and always has an ear open to the player’s representative body, the West Indies Players Association . If Bravo is not a member of this group, he can have an agent who adopts a similar role. By virtue of the number of matches which Bravo has played, it is reasonable to view him as a senior player. As such, he is expected to provide guidance and advice to the younger ones. What type of standards is he setting for them? It was an intemperate remark, bordering on insolence and he was duly punished. In addition to dismissal from the series, Bravo was instructed to remove the offending tweet from his Twitter account and if he failed to do so by 3p.m. Jamaica time last Saturday, he could face further action including referral to the Disciplinary Committee. Clearly, the WICB has decided, to their everlasting credit, to throw the book at him. He deserves it. email@example.com
There is absolutely no question that these “hide and seek” games which admittedly enhance the hype and make the successful professional forecasters seem like geniuses, have their negative effect. The cat and mouse play advances the view that Champs is the pinnacle showcase for this generation of athletes. Several see the March/April event as the fulfilment of their dreams in the sport. What comes after in the Summer is not given as serious an approach as it deserves. This columnist has travelled with junior teams to international competitions and some of the talk coming from a few of the team members, is absolutely chilling. The words, “this is not Champs but I’ll see what I can do” swiftly comes to mind. In other words, it is equivalent to putting school over country. Bear in mind that the much maligned Captain Burrell, Jamaica’s football supremo, will have none of this in his ranks. As far as he is concerned, representing Jamaica even as far as preparation exercises go, must supersede any other activity. As a remedial response, there have been calls for the dilution of the Champs model and some of what it embraces. Stronger focus, those protagonists claim, ought to be given to national exploits. They continue to express the view that, “the schoolboy and schoolgirl model being the most important one, must go.” Foster’s Fairplay has time for that argument but it has to be structured in a manner that will not detract from the value of Champs. Neither should its component parts be seen as an overkill. As it stands, too many positives, which can be further developed, are woven into the fabric of Champs. Champs is too high profile and by extension, highly marketable an event to allow for any diminishing of its format. All it needs is to be tweaked a bit to allow the dollars that it attracts to flow in with greater intensity and rapidity. The ISSA executives need to contract the expert services of the world’s most efficient marketers to assist in selling the product to a more diverse set of buyers of sporting content. The annual Penn Relays forays can be utilised as working trips to launch this and similar initiatives. Let Champs and how it has impacted the world, be a major contributor to the country’s Gross Domestic Product. – Email feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org. Last weekend, athletes from two different age groups – Under 18 and Under 20 – participated in the country’s Trials for the Carifta Games, which takes place during the Easter holidays in Curacao. Foster’s Fairplay will allow the erudite statisticians to catalogue the plethora of brilliance which emanated from that event. Suffice to say, it provided further indication that, as the colloquialists would put it, “wi nuh tap yah.” The coaches who guide the country’s young sporting products have displayed that they too are of world class rating. They have prepared their charges to have them peak at what they deem to be the right time. This could be seen in the performing language of some name brand participants parading their skills while at the same time showing that, “I am not quite ready” or “I am holding back.” It seemed to many watching from various vantage points, that it was not yet time to serve the “pudding”, the proof of its delectable taste, being withheld until Champs. The InterSecondary Schools Sports Association’s flagship event, the ISSA GraceKennedy Boys & Girls’ Championships is just under three weeks away. The five day spectacle, known to the world of track and field as ‘Champs’, is once again expected to roll out top-drawer performances by the nation’s young athletes. The runners, jumpers and throwers on show, will clearly demonstrate how talent-blessed is this piece of rock, discovered by Christopher Columbus approaching the close of the 15th Century. So much so, that if the Spain-funded Italian explorer’s ability to foretell, matched his genius at discovering countries, he would have called this one, Atletico Xamayca instead. In time to come, its athletes would have removed any doubt among critics as to how appropriate the name had been. Erudite statisticians Hide and seek
Romaine Austin of Special Olympics Jamaica won his second gold medal at the World Winter Games in Graz, Austria yesterday after he topped the 333 metres speed skating event.Austin had earlier won gold in the Division 15 500 metres speed skating event on Thursday.Dave Oddman also mined his first gold of the Games in gold in 333 metres speed skating after capturing silver in the Division 23 222 metres on the ice skating rink earlier this week.Jamaica’s team at the Games has now won a total of five medals – three gold, a silver and a bronze. The floor hockey team placed third and earned the bronze medal.
LONDON, England (CMC):British athletics authorities have confirmed the transfer of Antigua and Barbuda sprinter Miguel Francis to represent the United Kingdom.The 22-year-old, who was born in Montserrat but represented Antigua, applied for the transfer prior to the Rio Olympics and is now eligible to turn out for his new country “with immediate effect”.”British Athletics can confirm it has received confirmation from the IAAF that Miguel Francis is eligible to compete for the British Athletics team with immediate effect,” a statement from British Athletics said recently.”Francis started the process to transfer allegiance from Antigua & Barbuda in August 2016, prior to the Olympic Games in Rio, and is now eligible to compete subject to meeting the required selection criteria for a Championships team.”Track and field’s world governing body, the IAAF, announced last February it had frozen all new applications for transfers of allegiance.Francis was eligible to compete for Britain by virtue of having been born in Montserrat, a British overseas territory.A former training partner of sprint legend Usain Bolt under coach Glen Mills, Francis turned out at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and the 2015 World Championship in Beijing.Only last year, he set a new Antigua national record in the 200 metres, clocking 19.88 seconds at the Racers Grand Prix in Kingston.