MacKenzie flays JFA's policy on Trinidad tour

Date Published: 
Jamaica Gleaner

STRONG CRITICISM of the policy of the Jamaica Football Association in regard to preparation for the visit next month of a Trinidad soccer team, has come from Arthur MacKenzie, former St. George's Old Boys and Jamaica forward and veteran coach of high school and Jamaica teams.

The coach, who has broken his retirement to prepare Manning Cup champions, St. George's College for their match against the Trinidadians, has charged that the JFA have appointed too many coaches to work with the invited players.

"The appointment of four coaches—Harry Paxton, Noel Hall, Dudley Smith and Clarence Passailaigue—is not necessary. Rather, instructions from four coaches will confuse the players, since each coach may have a different plan," said MacKenzie in an interview with the Gleaner yesterday.

Continuing, the coach said:

"A physical training instructor is also unnecessary. If the players are not fit at the end of the season, after playing from September last year until now, then when will they be fit? The one coach necessary should have his 11 men selected and have them play together to a plan consisting of plenty of ball work.

"The captain of the Jamaica side should have been named weeks ago. As we all know, the captaincy must be given to Franz Alexander, who I am certain doesn't know two men to speak to on the Jamaica team that will be selected. Alexander's experience in representing All-England amateur teams on many occasions makes him the best man for the job.

"Early selection would give Alexander a chance to know the players.

"He should be played in no other position but centre half—pivot position on the side. At any other position he would be wasted. He should be co-opted as a selector immediately so that he can see the few remaining trials in which he could conceivably observe good material.

Not asked

"It is typical of the JFA that they have such a great player with such a wealth of experience at their disposal, and yet they have not asked him to coach the invitees or even to assist the coach.

"If Jamaica decide to play the outmoded "W" formation, certainly Alexander should be consulted by the coach. I am sure he know more about the "W" formation. I myself discussed different tactics with him before the 1956 Manning season, and I asked him on several occasions while I was coaching the St. George's College team to come over to Winchester Park and let me have the benefit of any new ideas he may have."

On the question of players invited to practise, MacKenzie thought that many more schoolboys from the Manning competition should have been asked. "Of the 77 footballers plus reserves from the seven schools playing Manning football in the Corporate Area and Spanish Town, only one Anthony Hill was invited. He has proved so good that his chances of being selected are excellent. I know of many boys from other schools, boys of equal ability, who with the good coaching they now lack could make the Jamaica team.

"An why play St. George's College? Are the JFA afraid that the best All-Schools XI of last year's Manning players would beat the Jamaica side or possibly Trinidad, and so make the tour a financial loss? I was given only two weeks in which to get the St. George's boys into shape a very short time.

Attacking the present playing formation, MacKenzie concluded:

"For some strange reason, England and Jamaica persist in using the orthodox "W" formation, and both countries have consequently suffered in defeat many time in recent years, while showing no improvement.

"For example, Hungary recently defeated England 6-0 and 7-0 in the World Cup whilst America, who are not recognised among great soccer countries of the world, beat England 1-0."