Exemplary (Soccer) Australia

Forget about Kangaroos as the first mental or oral prompt, after hearing Australia. The Island continent has resiliently illustrated sporting excellence as a persistent habit. Pre-dating the new millennium, Australia was at the tip of the tongue, where aquatics, rugby and cricket are concerned; to name a few. Today, 2015 Asian Football Confederation Champion, Australia has mapped itself on the ‘Football Atlas‘ with a selection harmoniously balancing youth and experience. Affectionately called ‘the Socceroos,’ Soccer Australia thrives off several globally experienced national representatives, ranging North America, through Europe and Asia; and also off a vibrant and highly competitive Hyundai A-League.

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In search of more internationally competitive counterparts, the FIFA member association migrated to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) from its regional Oceania Football Confederation (OFC). The results were staggering with immediate effect. Not only is Soccer Australia AFC Champion, the delegation has achieved successive FIFA World Cup appearances, giving respectable accounts of themselves. Led by goals from Tim Cahill in 2014, the Socceroos bowed out of the 2014 FIFA World Cup with 3 goals without a win in the opening round. Mile Jedinak and Mathew Leckie were other standout players for the Aussies.

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Legendary intercontinental Australian football names include: Liverpool stalwart Harry Kewell, Celtic Tom Rogic, BVB Dortmund 2nd string goalie Mitchell Langerak and one-time Everton FC’s Tim Cahill. The Socceroos’ female peers (Australia Matildas) have recently dismissed former Champions Brazil (featuring WPOTY Marta) from the FIFA Women’s World Football World Cup recently concluded in Canada. Previously disregarded in the world of football, Australia has stealthily become a powerhouse. Take a leaf.

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Written and Copyright by Javaughn O. Smith @ApplythePeppa 2013.

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Football Leagues of Exports v. Leagues of Imports

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FIFA mandates that for a nation to be represented in international football, during its periods of international participation, that country should have a fully functional and active top-flight football league. For any nation to earn eligibility to host a FIFA World Cup, the international attractiveness and quality both its league and national senior teams boast is certainly a street signal. The competitiveness, global football exposure and revenue generating capacity of a specific league determines the investors and players it may attract. The world’s richest clubs in European currency are Real Madrid, Manchester United and F.C. Barcelona respectively. Aside from a handsome salary, players may be enticed into employment by teams in such leagues due to the many benefits like international television exposure and the professional respect gained from experience in such environments.

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England’s top-flight league has spawned tremendously into a favourable workplace for international senior footballers from all Football Confederations. The Barclay’s Bank sponsored league is no stranger to strong financial threshold, as are the teams which encompass the Division One framework. Ticket and team kit sales stem to new heights with the dawn of each new season as do transfer signing fees. Whenever Club Board directors are able to secure the services of the most sought-after superstars of the modern game, stadia and merchandise marketplaces are inevitably sold out weekend in weekend out. On average, 3-5 of every 11 starters on Barclay’s Premier League teams are UK based, especially in the more successful clubs. On the other side of the coin, LigaBBVA, another financial institution sponsored league, ranges 5 – 7 Spaniards on each team. F.C. Barcelona (CAT), for example, set a quota of at least 5 Catalans/Spaniards on the pitch at any given time. These LigaBBVA clubs are as successful and recently more successful than the foreign based XI’s in England. The same indigenous-originated success is common in France, Germany, Italy, México, Scotland, Australia, South Korea, Brazil and Argentina.

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These nations not only share pride in elite football league status but also have held the FIFA World Cup at least once before. Whereas those yet to win are concerned, they are repetitive Confederation Champions and have successive FIFA World Cup appearances. The leagues of exports groom home-grown talent in high demand for the import based leagues overseas. These exports return to their nation with varied professional and environmental experiences from which to share with their native colleagues. The league, national team and their rapport, in turn elevate to greater heights, especially when an entire international team is diversely foreign league based. Export leagues endured the guaranteed struggle of having the league and national players’ graduate to the highest standard of international competitiveness. Years of dedication and belief in rigorous youth systems have suitably paid off. Not only is the league’s international reputation boosted, but that country’s national team sees intense positional competition in being selected for international representation. Major League Soccer in the United States is one which has seen significant improvement over time as an import-based football league. Matriculation from import league to export league status is not an immediate process, yet the international stature of a league on the shoulders and legs of natives is directly proportional to a nation’s international success.

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Written and Copyright by Javaughn O. Smith @ApplythePeppa 2013.

A CONCACAF World Cup?

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The FIFA consists of an assembly of Confederations encompassing member associations derived from nationality. There are 6 Confederations; CONCACAF, OFC, CAF, AFC, UEFA and CONMEBOL. CONCACAF, of which the Jamaica Football Federation ( JFF ) is apart, is the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Football Associations. Only ten (10) of the 41 member associations have ever been to the greatest sporting display on Earth. In those World Cup appearances, CONCACAF’s highest placing is third in the inaugural edition, by the United States. CONCACAF has reached the quarterfinals on five separate occassions, through Mexico (twice), Costa Rica and the United States (twice). Jamaica is the smallest nation to ever win a World Cup game, 2-1 versus Japan in 1998.

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CONCACAF’s highest FIFA World Ranking is 4th, achieved by Mexico (twice) in February 1998 and May -June of 2006, and the United States in April of 2006. Following those, is Costa Rica with a FIFA World Ranking high of 13th in February – March of 2015. Honduras placed 20th worldwide in September of 2001 and Jamaica’s highest ranking came as a result of the JFF’s 1998 World Cup campaign, seeing Jamaica being placed 27th in the world. On the flip side, CONCACAF’s women have been and continue to be at the very top of the world. Former world champion, the United States has headed the FIFA World Rankings and is currently World No. 2. Canada is close behind being 8th currently and having a 6th highest World Ranking. The United States is two-time FIFA Women’s World Champion, attained in 1991 and 1999. The US Women’s National Team is also 4-time Olympic Champion. Mia Hamm, former USWNT captain, circumstantial goalkeeper and forward was declared FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year, the first two years that the award was given in 2001 and 2002. The FC Barcelona ambassador was listed among the 125 best living players of the game, chosen by Péle.

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The hosting potency of the Confederation has been tried, tested and proven. Though the Caribbean is yet to participate in the hosting of the FIFA World Cup, several Caribbean sovereignties, including the Cayman Islands, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago have welcomed FIFA U-17 and FIFA U-20 World Cup competitors, whether it be for Qualifiers or the official tournament. Prior to Mexico’s 2011 FIFA U-17  World triumph, CONCACAF had not managed to pass the Round of 16 in the World Cup at that level. Both Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago have aspirations, along with Cuba and other Caribbean Football Associations, of employing the most professional and mountainous levels of hospitality to national representatives of the game at the senior level. Outgoing CONCACAF President, Jeffrey Webb along with former Confederation President Austin Jack Warner and Confederation Executive Chuck Blazer are among several FIFA delegates undergoing criminal investigations by the U.S. Justice Department and the FBI. The previously mentioned, all shared ambitions of enabling not only North and Central American Football Federations but also Caribbean Football Associations to have the unique opportunity of hosting a senior Men’s World Cup. Efforts to facilitate and realize such aspirations were also being aided by recently resigned FIFA President Sepp Blatter. Blatter has assisted the Confederation and it’s African counterpart in the sport’s development especially at the grassroots level during his tenure.

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Apart from an availability of internationally standardized stadia with which to conduct World Cup fixtures, attractions and areas for the teams to retreat, consistent performance on the international stage heavily dictates the frequency with which a Football Association or group of is considered as potential hosts. Nations fight for hosting rights simply because history has proven, with the exception of the most decorated winner Brazil, the host has a very high probability of being that edition’s eventual winner. The Confederation Cup, as the name suggests, is a knock-out tournament featuring the Champion Football Association of each Confederation. CONCACAF has gotten as far as second place when the United States’ Men’s National Team was defeated in the final in South Africa, 2009. Similar to CONCACAF’s World Cup situation, Mexico is alongside the United States at the top, finishing as Confederation’s Cup Champion as hosts, ten years prior. I perceive that CONCACAF’s Worldwide image must become much more attractive as that of it’s member associations’ football leagues and its Champions League. The Confederation through international and interclub competitions must be presented as a very viable source of income and patriotic passageway to the future stars of the beautiful game.

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A Brazilian was employed as head coach and/or technical director of the JFF’s 1998 FIFA World Cup campaign. When Trinidad & Tobago qualified for the World Cup in 2006, Dutchman Leo Beenhakker, was the man in charge. During Mexico’s explosion and rejuvenation on the FIFA stage, Mexicans were lead stewards similarly to the United States until recently where former German representative coach and player Jurgen Klinsman was given the top job. Klinsman, like Winfried Schaefer, who is Jamaica’s head coach relocated to their employer’s base of operations, as has become customary in the Asian and African Confederations. Each man has a sense of national pride despite employment status. That is not to suggest said professionals neglect his duties handed down by his employers for his native country’s success, only to mention that each one would love to see his country excel. With that being said, I believe the right native should bear the responsibility of seeing his delegation through the rounds and ranks of the most popular sport on the face of the globe. Outstanding achievements will be appreciated that much more when executed purely by natives of said nation.

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Football has repeatedly demonstrated the ability to unify supporters of varied heritage, class and creed. In Jamaica, during the World Cup Qualifiers and the group stages of Jamaica’s legendary World Cup appearance, the nation was huddled into a single unit monitoring the nation’s progress game by game. Football fans were born of the special era which saw televisions mounted on streets and corners of every district with fans glued, tuning in while working or enjoying dominoes among other past-times. It will be a while yet before the nation’s crime and oppresive woes are set aside under a common unifying factor such as that, but the Reggae Boyz are relentless. Another failed World Cup campaign is behind the Jamaica Football Federation. Nevertheless, under the new directorship, the JFF has been invited to participate in the 2015 Copa America which is a interconfederate competition between CONMEBOL and CONCACAF member associations. Competition standards such as these can usher the CONCACAF member association into uncharted football territory, maybe even resulting in more successful World Cup campaigns and displays. Consequently the FIFA World Cup trophy may even reside in a CONCACAF member associations’ head office for four years, instead of passing through on tour. Who knows?

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Written and Copyright by Javaughn O. Smith @ApplythePeppa 2013.

The Importance of Goal line technology GLT

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What happens during a football match when it is uncertain if the whole of the ball crossed the goal line? In previous years, in scenarios such as that, it would be up to the discretion of the assistant referee to determine if a goal has been scored. The dynamic nature of the modern game has demanded that technology become as of great importance as the necessary equipment for a game to be contested.

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Originally, even after its trial period, FIFA was reluctant to introduce Goal-Line Technology (GLT) as an international benchmark playing requirement. However, due to its proven success and necessity, increasingly in recent years, the football world governing body has decided to institute GLT.

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Famous incidents of controversy surrounding uncertain goals have become quite frequent especially regarding a team’s progression to the next stage of a given competition. One such example includes the FIFA 2010 World Cup round of 16 match between England and Germany where, clear to the players and spectators was a goal scored by Frank Lampard to square the score going into half-time.

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TV replay showed the whole of the ball crossing the line, the German goalkeeper wasted no time in palming the ball back out of the goal area. The goal was never given, England were eliminated. The game had been highly competitive and two-sided until then. Several national football leagues have institutionalized GLT and benefited from immediate success regarding its utilization. Took FIFA long enough, but better late than never.

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Written and Copyright by Javaughn O. Smith @ApplythePeppa 2013.

Oppression + Tax

On July 4, 2015, the Government of Jamaica, commemorated the aniversary of National Hero Norman Washington Manley. The Opposition Spokesperson on Finance quoted the Right Excellent Manley as saying: “We achieved political independence for Jamaica. It is the duty of the political generation succeeding us to achieve economic independence.” Infrastructurally, the nation is still in a pre-independent state of being. Jamaica’s professional potency, especially internationally, has been encapsulated solely into Tourism and Hospitality Management. Aside from that, our youth have been nurtured and cultured into aspiring for traditional careers such as: business administration, actural science and law to name a few.

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Jamaicans toiling within nose distance of daily health risks have only recently been compensated accordingly with the mandatory health benefits certain firms and industries guarantee. Recently removed NSWMA chair Jennifer Edwards possesses the mind responsibile for instituting and enforcing the forementioned to her underlining employees. Already working for little to nothing, the sanitation engineers had no access to dental, general health, insurance or pension schemes. Early into the fiscal year the Government of Jamaica rejected a double-digit proposal from unionized public-sector workers and pushed forward a 5% increase on the table. The Government of Jamaica also requested an extension on the elongated (2014-6) public-sector wage freeze for years 2015-17.

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Obviously with more than tight budgetary constraints, the country’s money has to be invested and utilized sky level efficiently to sign off the nation’s debt. The penned IMF agreement of consecutive loan installments stipulates such inconvenient negotiations and all the tax and tariff increases which have been born since. In the event an IMF revenue target is missed, even narrowly, further miserly public financial acts will ensue. On the contrary, the Government of Jamaica has had its fits of illogical blindfolded spending after announcing bordering bankruptcy. On its quest for 1st World Status, apart from table-flipping Economic Reform, Jamaica’s recycling, sanitation management, reef protection, public transportation and education systems must undergo vast rebranding and resuscitation.

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In my opinion, progression from 3rd World to 1st World Status is nowhere near gradual, especially annually, to have a photo-finish with January 2030. With an aging population experiencing double-digit unemployment figures and high population concentrations in urban and suburban areas, significant infrastructural development and repairs must take place. Technology has blanketed the globe and with an unpredictable global economic climate, Jamaica needs to tap into unexplored industrial territory. Train specialized professionals capable of meeting global industrial demands. Besides her natural resources and artificial manufactures capable of keeping Jamaica afloat, diversified human resource is the next best life-jacket. Jamaica is much more than just a vacation spot full of lively warmhearted people, as virally advertised.

Written and Copyright by Javaughn O. Smith @ApplythePeppa 2013.