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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Jamaica’s Football Prowess



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WHEN DANIEL Sturridge headed the winner against Denmark at Wembley a few weeks ago and Raheem Sterling was named England’s man of the match, I found myself thinking… Jamaica.


The reason?

Well, Sturridge and Sterling, play for England, but they have Jamaican roots.

The very next day I picked up my pen and sat with a pad jotting down the names of the current players in the Premier League that have Jamaican heritage. It made an impressive list.

So I thought, hey – let’s put this together as a team… and BritJamXI was born.

BritJamXI is a bit of fun, but it isn’t about claiming these players should really be playing for Jamaica.

It is also not suggesting the current Reggae Boyz need to step aside for the British brigade. And it certainly won’t change how any of the players feel about the country they play for with pride.

What I hope it does, is shine a light on the tremendous contribution the island nation is making to British football.

Go on, give a thought about an equivalent relationship between other nations and the UK in football?

In fact, it’s an open challenge – I’ll put my BritJamXI up against any Brit(add nation) challenge out there.

The team is frighteningly good – and speaking honestly, I’m sure there are a few top players looking through the team wondering why they didn’t get a shout.

The truth is it wasn’t easy finding out who had Jamaican roots – and identity can be a very private thing, so I didn’t want to be stepping into sensitive areas, when the idea behind creating BritJamXI was a light-hearted exercise.

Interestingly, a few days after my BritJamXI brainwave The Gleaner and The Voice ran stories suggesting that Usain Bolt could be tempted to jump into the Reggae Boyz team in the future.

It’s a fun thought, but one I could never see happening.

His brother told me he’s a decent footballer, but a better cricketer, so if it’s third on his list – surely it would be a step too far. Right?

However, if Usain fancies it, as my assistant manager – he should give me a buzz!

Sadly, finding a BritJamXI managerial team will be a real mission impossible at the moment.

Leon Mann is a journalist and filmmaker

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