The Reggae Boyz on the rise: 2014 isn’t a dream for Jamaica

It seems like an age since Jamaica last qualified for the World Cup. Their first and solitary appearance came in 1998 in France, with iconic defender Ian Goodison and dazzling midfielder Robbie Earle at the fulcrum of the side, which finished third in the group stage.

Now, though, Jamaica have another crack at qualifying. The team find themselves at the final stage of qualification and are so close they can almost taste it. Theodore Whitmore’s men currently operate last place in the group but they could turn it around with the upcoming qualifiers in early June.

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Sepp, this sounds familiar…
Guyana’s football association…was given $800,000 in grants for a training centre between 2002 and 2006, but has yet to start any building work. The football federation in Montserrat…got $788,139 from FIFA in the early 2000s for what it said would be a “complex” with floodlights and fences, but what Google Earth suggests is just a forest clearing. 
The last time we checked in with Sepp Blatter, he was busy ignoring construction delays in Brazil while jaunting off to the Middle East to work on artificial cloud technology with Qatari scientists. Or at least something like that. News today, however, suggests he might want to make a quick stop in the Caribbean. 
According to a report recently published by The Economist, a not-so-new scandal is currently unfolding between FIFA and a number of smaller island nations. FIFA has, for years, sent comparatively large amounts of funding to smaller member-countries like Montserrat, Guyana and Anguilla, with the supposed intention of developing the support structure of each country’s domestic game. But while vast sums have been pumped into the Caribbean, relatively little has been created as a result. There are no gyms, dormitories or fields, and much of the funding remains unaccounted for, simply misplaced. For their part, FIFA claim that “construction delays” are the main culprit, but it’s difficult to believe it takes more than a decade to build a fence.
Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised. Remember Mohamed bin Hammam, the would-be FIFA-reformer who was banned for offering financial incentives to Caribbean officials? A number of those same officials received short-term bans as a result of the scandal. One would think they’d be blacklisted from prominent positions within world soccer, but guess who’s back in charge? And guess who FIFA just handed more than $1m in “unspecified bonuses?”
Corruption is deplorable enough when votes are exchange for favors, but it’s entirely another when developing nations are deprived as a result. Recent news suggests that Sepp Blatter may step down from the FIFA Presidency in 2015, but with corruption so ingrained in the system, will it make any difference? [Posted by Maxi]    

Sepp, this sounds familiar…

Guyana’s football association…was given $800,000 in grants for a training centre between 2002 and 2006, but has yet to start any building work. The football federation in Montserrat…got $788,139 from FIFA in the early 2000s for what it said would be a “complex” with floodlights and fences, but what Google Earth suggests is just a forest clearing.

The last time we checked in with Sepp Blatter, he was busy ignoring construction delays in Brazil while jaunting off to the Middle East to work on artificial cloud technology with Qatari scientists. Or at least something like that. News today, however, suggests he might want to make a quick stop in the Caribbean.

According to a report recently published by The Economist, a not-so-new scandal is currently unfolding between FIFA and a number of smaller island nations. FIFA has, for years, sent comparatively large amounts of funding to smaller member-countries like Montserrat, Guyana and Anguilla, with the supposed intention of developing the support structure of each country’s domestic game. But while vast sums have been pumped into the Caribbean, relatively little has been created as a result. There are no gyms, dormitories or fields, and much of the funding remains unaccounted for, simply misplaced. For their part, FIFA claim that “construction delays” are the main culprit, but it’s difficult to believe it takes more than a decade to build a fence.

Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised. Remember Mohamed bin Hammam, the would-be FIFA-reformer who was banned for offering financial incentives to Caribbean officials? A number of those same officials received short-term bans as a result of the scandal. One would think they’d be blacklisted from prominent positions within world soccer, but guess who’s back in charge? And guess who FIFA just handed more than $1m in “unspecified bonuses?”

Corruption is deplorable enough when votes are exchange for favors, but it’s entirely another when developing nations are deprived as a result. Recent news suggests that Sepp Blatter may step down from the FIFA Presidency in 2015, but with corruption so ingrained in the system, will it make any difference? [Posted by Maxi]    

Produced in the Caribbean, crafted in Belgium: Hyland’s exploits give Trinidad and Tobago hope

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By Nathan Carr

“Hyland is a big part of the future of Trinidad and Tobago’s football,” says national team boss Jamaal Shabazz. Quite a statement to lunge on a fresh-faced 23-year-old; but a calculated one at that. There are big hopes for him.

Hyland has endured a fairly nomadic career. He started at former TT Pro League side San Juan Jabloteh, who had to withdraw from the nation’s top division last year after financial issues, where he tasted little success. Celtic, by all accounts rather surprisingly, then came knocking on the door in 2008 and he impressed in the trial only for Jabloteh to turn down a bid just under £500,000.

Interest did not fade out and next were Portsmouth, who were heavily linked but nothing materialised as Hyland was unable to get a work permit granted in time. It was difficult to work out where Hyland was going to end up, with considerable interest but no movement, but he came into luck. Belgian club Zulte Waregem recruited him and Hyland joined their development scheme before making the move permanent in 2009.

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