Thursday, July 26, 2012

Jamaican Football Programme - What are the needs?

I had the distinguished opportunity to be the Guest Speaker at the Kingston and St. Andrew Football Association Senior Award ceremony this evening (Thursday, July 26) and I spoke to a number of reasons why Jamaica should do more to get the best out of the most watched sport in the world - football. We acknowledged that track and field has highlighted Jamaica's image in a positive way; but picture for a moment a top performing national football team, a well oiled track and field programme along with excellent performances in netball, basketball, volleyball and swimming along with other sports. If sport is one of the leading industries in the world and Jamaica is blessed with the enormous talent and techincal personnel it has, then it is time to make some "good" money. I raised four major factors which would contribute to a great football player - talent - marketability - eloquence - community profile Sport is largely dirven by personalities and so once the talent is established then the rest of the skills set should be nurtured and brought to the fore as the package up for promotion and delivery. It's useless to even want to quantify the value of the Jamaican sporting industry without first engaging in a culture of - sportsmanship - support from the citizens - activism through volunteerism - social inclusion Football has those abilities as it is a mass sport in the Jamaican context. Outside of the CHAMPS, the odd cricket test; football draws the biggest crowds and covers the widest base across communities. I suggest we create an 'academic' template for the football talent of our country by academising the talent. What do I mean? Value the life skill/experience of a player...create an academy style training programme to offer basic education...train them in the finer things in football. This could empower a significant community and take the football to a completely different level. So UWI, UTech, GCF join forces and make a plan for this. I cannot imagine how proud members of the inner city communities graduating from an academy (under the name of UWI, UTech, NCU or GCF) - that kind of empowerment is invaluable and would offer great experience for these young people. I know there is someone out there waiting to do this research to select out first set of University Community students and focus our attention on 'Building a Nation one young man/woman at a time". Of course my passion cannot resist to say "the time is now" and no matter what happens at this Olympics, Jamaica will be talked about at least for another year - best time to engage the world. If Britain can attract investment opportunities in Education, then so can we. Let's do the non-traditional way, let us think Outside the Box.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Translating Sport Brand into Business

Since it was announced that the Games of the XXX Olympiad would have been held in London, the excitement started to build, well certainly for Jamaica and as a result of that – plans for attending were in high(er) gear. What was now to be “The Greatest Show on earth” – was on the minds of most sporting fans across the globe and not to leave out the Caribbean folks. On April 19 when the 100 countdown began a London CNN report said “As the city marks 100 days to go until the opening ceremony on Wednesday, venues are on schedule and within budget, tickets are selling out as quickly as they become available and sponsorship revenue has exceeded expectation. It's a big day for us, 100 days to go," said Sebastian Coe, the head of the London organizing committee. "This is the moment when we really do start getting ready for celebrating and welcoming the world." What was more impacting for me was the focus on Jamaica. Since November 2011 there was a consistent flow of journalists in the island to find out “Why Jamaicans run so fast.” – Have they really? Some of the features were shown on NBC’s Rock Centre with Lester Holt; BBC with Leon Mann; ESPN, HBO and a host of other TV networks, but also the features in Sport Illustrated, L’Equipe, Vogue, Ebony, Essence, Economist, Financial Times, and a host of publications in Germany, China and Australia; not to mention the web pages; were just a few of the positive spin offs the country has had because of one element of its brand – SPORT. While we contemplate the team’s performance at the Games, let’s take a look at the positive attention the country has had consistently for the last year. The country battles with its social programmes of a crime troubled nation; the IMF sort of dictates how money is spent and the ugly head of political corruption remains a popular discussion. All this make it tricky to do ‘business in Jamaica’ – however Sport has attracted the most positive outlook of the island. The questions that comes to mind are Can Jamaica capitalize on the attention it has gotten through Sport Can the attention be monetized Can Sport serve as a real economic driver for the Economy Who will drive the initiative The core of the culture of Jamaica has to be secured to achieve its primary goal of economic wealth for its people. The role of education, marketing, technical development has to be placed in one major plan to access the best opportunities for Jamaica. This has to be done soon, as the opportunity withers with time. How soon can Jamaica get this right? I read with interest an excerpt of a presentation by Senator Kamina Johnson and a question which emerged was “Is Jamaica boxing in the wrong weight class?” If in fact Jamaica is, it may mean a new set of gloves, or it may have to resort to fighting in the class it really should be. After all is said and done, Jamaica has been the most talked about, written about nation in this Olympic Games and the best is yet to come. Let’s rally around the team, management and the Jamaican people and do what is possible…extraordinary. In the 50th year of Independence, as the nation heads to a century and beyond, it is time for CHANGE and positive ones too.

Friday, July 20, 2012


I am amazed at the relatively high level of people who only read newspapers. Here is why I am amazed, in a typical conversation, at least the ones I have, I make reference to something from a publication I may have read up to 35 years ago. So if you are over 30 and you have not read some of these books, go find them 1. Animal Farm - George Orwell 2. Things Fall Apart - Chinua Achebe 3. Politics of Change - Michael Manley 4. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell 5. Beyond Freedom and Dignity - B.F. Skinner These books address humanity, beliefs, norms, values, existence, survival and solutions. In the difficult world we live in reasoning and logic are two critical skills to have and some GREAT ideas can come from these publications. Read a book today :-)