Digicel Premier League – The Future Of The Reggae Boyz

With Jamaica’s footballing primacy in the region now under severe scrutiny from the Soca Warriors of Trinidad and Tobago, who themselves have made it into the next phase of World Cup qualification, success at the Digicel Caribbean Championships is crucial, if the Reggae Boyz are to finish 2008 with a climb up the FIFA rankings.

Jamaica’s national football team took a heavy physiological blow when they were ousted from 2010 World Cup qualification, despite securing a 3-0 victory against Canada in their final fixture. Images of fans leaving the grandstand at the National stadium before the final whistle, were symbolic of the traditional fall in interest for the national program after the exit from a major tournament.

So for many of the locally based Reggae Boyz the Digicel Premier League (DPL) has become their soccer sanctuary for at least another 4 years as the rising stars of the league see an opportunity to get noticed, at a time when Jamaica’s national team is on the verge of a major metamorphosis.

With senior players like Ian Goodison, Tyrone Marshall, and even Ricardo Gardner entering the twilight of their national careers, the changing of the footballing guard in Jamaica is already underway, with John Barnes set to take the reigns from an unbeaten Theodore Whitmore as national coach. But without the exposure and platform of a World Cup qualifying run, Jamaica’s national program will be in the wilderness for some time with very little to look forward to on the international football calendar.

Despite the disappointment of non-qualification, Jamaica’s focus must now switch to the domestic league as coaches and clubs keep their eyes open for possible future Reggae Boyz. Already the DPL has made headway in erasing the disappointments of the national program, with a classic end of round final between eventual winners Harbour View and Tivoli Gardens.

What the end of round finals offered was a platform for the two best teams in the league to showcase their talent, in the hope of a call-up to the national team for the upcoming Digicel Caribbean Championships, and they were successful, earning four places on the 29-man squad between them (Dwayne Miller, Lance Laing and Keith Kelly for Harbour View and Tivoli’s Roland Dean.) The DPL on a whole produced 17 call-ups to the 29 man national squad for the Digicel Caribbean Championships with Meadhaven striker Keammar Daley, and Steven Morrissey of Portmore, two of the most surprising but deserved inclusions.

The future of the Reggae Boyz is in the DPL!