The narrow one-nil defeat of the senior Reggae Boyz in their friendly international against the USA was a pivotal result from a pivotal performance, at a pivotal time, in yet another crucial rebuilding cycle. Playing away from home, in cold, unfamiliar and unfriendly conditions on an artificial surface, the overall performance was encouraging from what was a young and inexperienced Jamaican team. There would have been precious little time for head coach Theodore ‘Tappa’ Whitmore and his technical staff to develop any kind of meaningful team chemistry and understanding amongst this group of players. There was, however, good dedication and heart, desire and commitment shown by the team Fundamentally, the team kept its shape and discipline throughout a testy 90 minutes of football as the USA understandably dominated possession in their backyard. Certainly, the new-look centre-half duo of Damian Lowe and Sergio Campbell stood tall in thwarting several threatening USA attacks. Offensively, Corey Burke was a typically tireless worker, and despite the possession disparity between the two teams, Burke did manage to create a few anxious moments for the American defence, and certainly keeps himself relevant as a credible option for the future. MIDFIELD ISSUES Amid all that positivity though, there remains the perennial problem of our midfield lacking personality, leadership and creativity. The midfield play was for the most part disjointed and almost non-existent. Mysteriously, Whitmore continues to assemble a midfield without genuine playmakers or even players with the basic technical skills needed to protect and maneouvre the football, and the vision to use it effectively. On the few occasions when the ball found its way into the Jamaican midfield, it was treated like the proverbial ‘hot potato’ that none of our players wanted to hold onto. This midfield issue is critical and must be urgently addressed by the coaching staff. Again, it comes down to the meticulousness of the scouting process. The coaching and technical staff must deliberately seek out players at home or abroad with the specific skill set that team so desperately needs. If returning to the common hunting ground in England fails to deliver the quality needed, then the conscious decision must be made to groom and develop some midfielders. Failing to do this will see our defenders and goalkeeper continuing to come under severe and inordinate pressure, while our forwards will continue to be starved of adequate and competent service For too long, Jamaican scouting locally and overseas has been bereft of strategic specificity. We’ve had a midfield creativity crisis ever since the retirement of Whitmore himself, and with the midfield being the fulcrum of every football team, ignoring this particular crisis will ultimately lead to the team’s demise. Another major disappointment coming out of the USA game was the limited minutes afforded to the young strike force of Shamar Nicholson and Jourdaine Fletcher. From my count, Nicholson and Fletcher got a combined two touches in the less than 10 minutes they were on the park. Again, Whitmore missed a trick and should have given these two rising stars more playing time in what was a meaningless friendly fixture against a below-strength USA team. All in all, coach Whitmore has a platform from which to launch. One can only hope that he sticks with the core of these players, and stop being such a coward going forward, in terms of giving more of the younger players meaningful playing time. The aim going forward must remain finding that elusive balance in our team composition. The USA game and the upcoming fixture against Honduras should help Whitmore and his technical team in the making of some crucial selection decisions. It would also be great if somewhere along the way, a game or two could be played inside the National Stadium. But maybe that’s asking for too much. As the process continues, there are definitely some encouraging signs, but there is still a lot of work to be done.
This, it has been established has been occasioned by the slow disbursement of funds.The National Assembly Committee on Sports visited both Nyayo and Kasarani Stadia on Thursday afternoon but was not very pleased with the progress of work made at Nyayo, Kenya’s second biggest stadium.The contractors had calculated the progress at a high 85pc, but Committee Chair Victor Munyaka was not sold, saying at most the progress was at 35pc.“We have seen better progress in Kasarani. We as a committee really feel unhappy because the government did not honor the funding to be able to complete this stadium in time”Lexis International Chief Contractor Chandresh Babariya (far left) with the chair of The National Assembly Committee on Sports accompanied by Sports Principle Secretary Ambassador Karimi Kaberia during the inspection of the Nyayo National Stadium on June 28, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu“We are requesting that whatever money is available for this stadium should be released immediately,” Munyaka said after completing the tour of the two facilities.He added; “We have received information from the contractor that there are many pending bills. If the contractor is working under pressure he can’t be able to do a decent work.”Babariya told Capital Sport that they have received close to 43pc of the entire budgetary allocation with Sh300mn having been set for the builder’s work while a further Sh26mn had been set aside for the constructor’s work.Construction work going on at the Nyayo National Stadium as at June 28, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluWhile Kasarani’s work mostly revolves around the playing surface, Nyayo has been undergoing an almost entire overhaul.The VIP dias and changing rooms are being constructed afresh with a new office block while the pitch is also being completely overhauled.Sports Principal Secretary Ambassador Kirimi Kaberia said they are in negotiations with treasury to speed up the availability of the Sh120mn deficit. The ministry received Sh525mn in the budget of which Sh150mn was dedicated to the ongoing works at Nyayo.Chair of The National Assembly Committee on Sports accompanied by Sports Principle Secretary Ambassador Karimi Kaberia during the inspection of the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani on June 28, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu“As a committee the reason we are here is because we have been concerned with the slow progress. We will come up with a report which will also help the government increase the budgetary allocation for the work,” Munyaka noted.He added; “This financial year the ministry has been given Sh525mn against a pending bill of Sh1.119bn which means this committee may require to intervene during the supplementary budget. This committee is very unhappy because of the level of funding to the sports department.”“The minimum allocation required is around Sh2.8bn for all the stadia and they got a paltry Sh525mn. This is a new committee and part of our duty now is to ensure that the ministry is no longer underfunded,”Kaberia added that the ministry takes responsibility for the delay in completion of works but has promised they will push to ensure the funds are released for the completion of works.-What is being done at Nyayo?Construction work going on at the Nyayo National Stadium as at June 28, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluThe VIP dias is being remodeled to mirror the one at the Kasarani Stadium. Behind it, a new office block with VIP hospitality rooms being constructed as well.The contractors say they will put up a shed around the entire stadium as opposed to before when it was only the VIP area covered.The changing rooms have also been shifted from below the VIP dias and moved to the left side of the stadium.The pitch has been entirely redone. Gregori International who laid the pitch at Kasarani is doing the same job at Nyayo. Currently, they have done the entire drainage system and laid the first layer of sand before the grass is laid.The Swimming pool area is also being re-worked. For the lovers of beer and a bit of nyama choma pre and post match, your favorite restaurants KucheKuche and Poolside have been demolished and they will not be existent when the refurbished stadium is opened up.0Shares0000(Visited 12 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Members of The National Assembly Committee on Sports accompanied by Sports Principle Secretary Ambassador Karimi Kaberia inspecting the Nyayo National Stadium on June 28, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluNAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 28- Lexis International Chief Contractor Chandresh Babariya has promised the Nyayo National Stadium constructor and builder’s works will be completed in six weeks; but, only if the Sports Ministry meets the end of their bargain by availing the cash needed.The Stadium which has been closed for renovation from last year had initially been set to be opened by the end of April, but two months down the line, work at the stadium is nowhere near complete.