Jamaica’s loss to Mexico in the final of the CONCACAF Gold Cup Sunday night.The Reggae Boyz did extremely well to have got to the final, having, drawn in the group stage, 2-2 with Costa Rica; beaten Canada and El Salvador 1-0; then edging Haiti 1-0 in the quarter-finals; and taking out the USA 2-1 in the semi-finals. This historic achievement is proof that the Jamaica Football Federation’s programme of mixing young talent with experienced campaigners is working.
Since the arrival of Mr Winfried Schäfer as coach of the team, we have seen a marked improvement in their game, a development that has caught the attention of the international football community. This, we believe, will redound to Jamaica’s benefit as we go into the World Cup qualifications, scheduled to begin during the August 31-September 8 international football window.
It is therefore important that the country gives the team the support it needs to succeed in this campaign which will, no doubt, be tough.
We acknowledge that there is not a lot of cash floating around the country, due to the economic reform programme mandated by the International Monetary Fund. However, businesses should look beyond simply providing funds for the team. They need to see sponsorship as an investment in a business that earns hundreds of millions of US dollars annually worldwide.
An example of the earning potential of football and its spin-off effects lies in the fact that FIFA, the sport’s world governing body, invested US$100 million of the revenue earned from the 2014 World Cup into a legacy fund in Brazil, the host nation.
The fund, FIFA stated in its 2014 annual report, “will be used to promote development in areas such as infrastructure, women’s and youth football, and health care and social programmes in underprivileged communities, with a special focus on the 15 states that were not home to one of the 2014 World Cup host cities”.
Jamaica, of course, would be considered too small to host a World Cup Finals. However, the point is that the country, and indeed sponsors, can earn from the game as long as we approach it as a business.