FR Sports Staff Writer
By: Sheldon Wright
Jamaica wants to find an answer to it’s footballing woes, and it seems there is some light being shed on a developmental program that seems to be able to grow well internationally. Jamaica has not qualified for a World Cup in 18 years which includes four (4) Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) World Cups. What does the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) in relation to problems with the Kingston and St. Andrew Football Association (KSAFA) really have against Mr. Craig Butler, President and Founder of Phoenix All Stars Football club? Who is to blame? For in some strange ways, it seems that Phoenix All Stars are developing quality Jamaican and Caribbean players and exposing them to compete at the highest level, which we want to see.
World Cup Campaign
Earlier this year, the Reggae Boyz, the name of the Jamaica national football team, battled Costa Rica in the International period which also served as qualifiers for the next World Cup.
Jamaica featuring many International professional stars, especially Wes Morgan of English Premier league leaders Leicester City, almost held their own against Costa Rica in the two match fixtures, by drawing the first game 1-1 in Jamaica, but losing the second game 3-0 at Costa Rica.
Now lying fourth in the qualifying table, with only two spots available, what does Jamaica do?
Phoenix All Stars Football club
The academy, founded by Craig Butler, whose motto, of this football club speaks of a Phoenix never dies, no matter how much pressure applied to it, and has resonated within the players well. Could they provide the solution? As we see now, top graduate stand-out Leon “Chippy” Bailey, scoring in his team’s loss to Gent FC on April 24, on Sunday, in the Belgium Jupiler League, on his rise playing for Genk KRC football club senior team, has gone through the rigorous demands of European football from the age of 12, now a fully fledged professional, in what he describes as “gone through hell”.
(Leon Bailey of Genk FC, in Belgium)
Bailey, at only 18 years of age, is now building a storm with his electric pace and technical ability for his club, now creating a tug-a-war with big football clubs in the likes of Chelsea FC (England) and Dortmund FC (Germany).
There are others to follow, such as Kyle Butler, son of the founder is also playing with the reserve teams of Genk FC, seems to be taking the bull by the horn and showing a lot of promise by scoring in his reserve team games for Genk FC. There are other players being produced by this club, who are also striving and working hard.
Controversy between Craig Butler and Jamaica Football Federation (JFF)
Despite the fact that Jamaica wants to do well at the international level in football, we still lack the resources somewhat but also the cohesive development for our football clubs. Our main achievement to date, is a Gold Cup final appearance last year, even beating the US en route in the semi-final.
Yet, there is a man, who seems to be so passionate about football, almost described to participate in this sport on an evangelical level, in Mr. Craig Butler, who has now taken the football world by storm in Europe, by showcasing Phoenix All Stars graduates to the world of football.
Is he misunderstood? Or thinking on a different level for football development in Jamaica, for as far as Mr. Butler is concerned, Jamaica can not only qualify for a FIFA World Cup but play in a World Cup final and possibly win it. Very strong belief, for a man who many cast aside after experiencing a turbulent matter with his legal drama involving his football academy. He was banned for football activities in Jamaica in 2007, which was lifted in 2013, due to committing a cardinal sin, and bringing football grievances to the courts, which is not allowed by FIFA law.
However, let’s see how his charges fair on the European stage.
Look out for Part 2 to this story.
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