Friday, 26 July 2013


In comes new coach Winfried Schaefer. 
If we go back to one of my previous blogs, and as much as it hurt me to write that, things have actually gone in that direction. In local parlance, ‘it gots to take a miracle’ for Jamaica to reach Rio 2014; make no joke about that.

We now heap the hopes of a nation on Schaefer and knowing our mentality as an unforgiving football nation, if we don’t reach the World Cup next year I can hear the following questions blaring out from all angles,

  • Maxwell, Pryce or Duckie could not have done any worse why couldn’t one of them get the job?
  • All that and wi still nuh reach?
  • JFF don’t know what them doing, why don’t they get rid of Burrell?
  • Why them never mek Tappa finish the job then?
 On the flip side and we do reach the World Cup next year the statements would go like this,

  • Maxwell, Pryce or Duckie can’t manage this ya now
  • Is a good thing Schafer come
  • Burrell is a genius
  • Long time dem fi get rid of Tappa
Well I am going out on a limb here and say Schaefer is here for the 2018 World Cup and not to actually get us to this one. Schaefer has a penchant for nurturing young talent and Alvas Powell will benefit greatly from his being here. We may see a totally different team come September 2013 against Panama who knows.

For one thing is certain, coaches don’t take jobs like these or in situations like these without certain conditions; exit Montesso and Gama already. That was a no-brainer because normally the coaches have their team that they already work with anyways. We wait to see what Burrell sweetened the deal with for Schaefer to get him here.

What is confusing is that Tappa has not formally resigned or am I mistaken?
© 2013 Antonio Bell. All rights reserved

Follow on twitter: @antoniobellmc


All the commentary posted in this publication are my personal view(s) and do not reflect the view(s) of any Association, Federation or Governing Body.

Friday, 19 July 2013

BECOMING CLEARER – Why the media behaves the way they do

My last blog mentioned Nesta Carter as testing positive, let me retract that forthwith and apologise profusely to this athlete for such a blunder on my part.

Sensationalism is key when reporting anything, and if we understand that, then we understand why the media sees it as necessary to throw Tyson Gay, Asafa, Sherone, Smikle and others under the bus.

I berated Asafa for years because he did not run through the tape and finish strongly in his races. As I said in my previous blog, all the athletes take something, whether it is banned or not is a different matter. I honestly think the only thing Asafa has ever been guilty of is not finishing his races strongly…….full stop. I don’t see him as someone who would indulge in doping; none of our athletes for that matter (yes, call me na├»ve if so be the case).

A positive test for a banned substance creates such a long shadow it is almost impossible to redeem yourself. Ohurugu and Justin Gatlin have somehow found a way to remove that shadow. These athletes have come back from bans and woven themselves back into the athletics fabric, so there is still a way possible to seek redemption from a positive test and even a ban. Steve Mullings, sorry things never worked out how they should have, big up what you did for Jamaica same way.

I read where Asafa’s new trainer says they are looking for a scapegoat and threw him (the trainer) under the bus. Now the only new addition to the equation is this...............for want of a better word, person, although I could find other words that start with p that would be apt. I am giving Asafa the benefit of the doubt on this one. I understand Franno’s stance, however, distancing himself from the issue so quickly is quite distasteful, due to his longstanding relationship with Asafa, but hey, Franno will always be Franno.

This new episode just highlights our lack of support for each other and speaks volumes of us as a nation in my view. I hear David Rudder’s song ‘Rally roun’ the West Indies’ and it so galvanises things even when West Indies cricketers are doing ‘not so good’. Who will be rallying around Asafa? Sherone? Smikle? I think that should be us.

The line from the movie Training Day ‘it is not what you know, it is what you can prove’ has Asafa and the others in a vice grip. What was proven is that a banned substance was found in their system, and I believe they did not willingly consume the components to provide a positive drug test. But the facts are the facts right now.

I think my co-workers now understand why I berate anyone that does not give their all when performing for Jamaica. The entire country has plunged into depression with the positive tests by our athletes.

When athletes perform their best and lose the country still celebrates, when they don’t give their all and lose, the country is upset. The athletes are like our children, friends, spouse, brother, sister, all rolled into one, which is why I really don’t understand how we can turn our backs on them so quickly.

In a utopian reality I would just wake up tomorrow from a dream and none of this ever happened.
© 2013 Antonio Bell. All rights reserved

Follow on twitter: @antoniobellmc


All the commentary posted in this publication are my personal view(s) and do not reflect the view(s) of any Association, Federation or Governing Body.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013


This particular blog is not to condone anything based on the adverse analytical findings of Tyson Gay, Asafa Powell, Sherone Simpson, Nestar Carter, or any of the athletes testing positive recently. However, to highlight my confusion of how the various Governing Bodies select what is to be on the banned list or what is to be taken off.

So, I may be taking something that is working for me this year and I have a stellar season, come next year, it may be on the banned list; my career tanks. With Tyson, Asafa and the gang testing positive this leaves me now even more confused than the VCB incident. I don’t purport to be the authority on doping, or what is to be on a banned list, however, I have some questions that my readers may be able to have me answer for myself, if not I make take some of these questions to WADA.

1. If I am using a supplement, cream, or anything that can possibly release something into my bloodstream and the ‘banned component’ is not listed on the packaging, am I to call up the manufacturer to find out if there is something banned in the product before I use it?

2. Am I to just list all I consume and email it on a daily basis to the Governing Bodies just in case? Even a breadfruit from Portland?

3. How are the substances selected to be on the banned list?

4. Why are substances taken off once put on the list?

I don’t know what was found in the athletes’ bodies, but I can understand their devastation. Tyson seems to even know exactly what happened and who caused it. Asafa has suffered a lot of humiliation despite his achievements, and this is the worst of them all, simply because of how it is perceived when you test positive for a banned substance.

Frankly I feel no different today from how I felt about my athletes yesterday; they have provided a lot of proud moments for my country and as I said about VCB that can’t be erased overnight. Even if their B sample comes back positive my question will be ‘so what?’ The athletes MUST take something to energize and sustain them due to the type of training they undergo, and have to try and recover from injury quickly….MUST; this is their livelihood and the thing that provides many of the earning opportunities for them. You may be taking a substance that is working for you and the banned substance is just not listed on the label.

Same knife stick sheep stick goat. My opinion is in direct relation to how Ben Johnson was vilified as against Carl Lewis……I am sure everyone can read between the lines there. Also, Justin Gatlin has come back from a ban and is now like a poster boy………people please, GIVE MY ATHLETES A BREAK. Most of the drugs really help you recover from injury quickly and allow you to train for longer hours; in essence you still have to put in work.

The only point I am really trying to make here is to ensure the substances are understandable by the average man/athlete. I failed every chemistry exam I took at KC (no disrespect teachers) my head was just tough. Some athletes never even took chemistry, so make it more understandable for everyone.

I may have a race to run tomorrow, my head starts hurting and I need to rest, it’s 10pm and my race is 7am the next day and I need relief. I need a pain killer. I scoured all pain killers beforehand just in case this scenario occurs. There is a banned substance in the pill that is not on the label. I can see the headlines if I test positive.

GIVE MY ATHLETES A BREAK, it can be something way beyond their control, I just hate the impression of them doing systematic doping. If needs be give them lie detector tests or something of that nature. That way we can be a little clearer on things.

© 2013 Antonio Bell. All rights reserved

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All the commentary posted in this publication are my personal view(s) and do not reflect the view(s) of any Association, Federation or Governing Body.

Monday, 8 July 2013


Confed Cup champions Brazil have come of age before I thought they would. Not because they beat Spain-because they could have lost and still come of age-but how they represented themselves and the discipline they showed. Make no mistake Spain is still my team and I still think they will win the World Cup next year.

However, teams have found out the Achilles heel of Spain; that diagonal pass behind the centre halves. Passing through Spain is basically impossible based on the system they play, and Brazil did well to stretch them out using the width of the pitch. Spain somehow has chosen to not pay attention to that diagonal pass, because Holland came close to beating them in the last World Cup with that very pass, but did not capitalize on it; Arjen Robben got away twice.

Brazil showed character, poise and obviously stuck to their game plan; use the width of the pitch and foul early when they lose the ball. Before now, Brazil looked suspect in defence, but they stepped up big time and man-handled Spain for almost the entire game. One interesting statistic though was that Brazil had 8 shots on target, believe it or not Spain had 7 (the penalty not have counted in that); however, Brazil managed to convert 3 of them. And the statistics we have now gotten accustomed to, Spain had the greater percentage of possession. Upon looking at the statistics you actually realize that the match could have gone either way despite Brazil’s 3 nil win. Why I mentioned that statistics is for the simple fact that Barcelona played a match and had over 9 or 10 shots on target and the opposing team had 2; the team beat Barcelona 2-1.

Spain did not play as bad as I hear most fans say it, Brazil played very well and deserve to be Confed Champions. What I was surprised at was the amount of wayward passes by Spain; which may have been due to Brazil’s tenacity. Hindsight they say is better than 20-20 vision but I would not have started Matta for Spain, he and Torres did not click all match; and I would not have put them (Matta and Torres) out for the second half; the team is much too deep for that. What can never be taken away from Brazil now is the fact that they beat the #1 rank team in the World at its peak. I told an ardent Brazil fan that his team was ranked 22nd coming into the Confed Cup and he almost fainted; he thought they were in the top 5. Needless to say they will make a big jump up the rankings.

Brazil has a well balanced team and Big Phil has done wonders with this young team who are the future of Brazil football. However, heavy is the head that wears the crown, they must win a World Cup to be validated as a great Brazilian team; nothing else will suffice (that’s the harsh reality). The 1982 Brazil team is always referred to as one of the greatest team never to have won the World Cup; and we all remember the players on that team. Brazil won the World Cup in 1994 and their fans are still not satisfied in how they won (they beat Italy on penalties).

Spain has been validated already; they have the best team for over 6-8 years now and the silverware to prove it. To get to the next level this Brazil team must win a World title. I won’t count the Confed Cup, this basically belongs to Brazil. Nonetheless, this is a good Brazil team, balanced, effective, purposeful, strategic and most importantly, scoring a lot of goals. Let’s see how things play out until 2014.

© 2013 Antonio Bell. All rights reserved

Follow on twitter: @antoniobellmc


All the commentary posted in this publication are my personal view(s) and do not reflect the view(s) of any Association, Federation or Governing Body.