It began to rain during the dying moments of the ISSA Flow Super Cup finals on Saturday. It was like the gods were either weeping at the pasting that Jamaica College was suffering or shedding tears of joy for the emerging talent that is Alex Marshall.

The 16-year-old ‘star baller’ from St. George’s College is perhaps one of the most exciting talents in recent history of Jamaican schoolboy football. He has been blessed with great skill but while he is far from the finished product, you see in him the potential to be really great in the future – a Jamaican Messi perhaps.

Leading up to the finals I always believed St. George’s College was the better team. During the Super Cup they played the best football and got better with each round. They started out shakily against Glenmuir during the quarter-finals but then gradually imposed their will on the game to come out 3-2 winners.

Against St. Jago, they were comfortable but against JC they were supreme and that was all Marshall, who had a role in all four goals. It was he who was brought down in the box that earned St. George’s a penalty within five minutes. Nine minutes later he scored from eight yards out to make it 2-0. It was he who won the free kick in the second half from which St. George’s went up three and it was he who scored the fourth, his sixth of the tournament to seal the win, the million dollars in cash and the Super Cup trophy.

He also walked away with the Golden Boot trophy and the scholarship worth J$100,000.

You can see where without Marshall, the scoreline could have been very different as it was his industry and creativity that destroyed the defending champions.

So what’s next for this youngster, who will probably go on to win the Manning and Walker Cup this season and maybe even the Olivier Shield as well? Personally, I would love to see him develop into a real first class talent but can that be done here where our developmental programmes are weak.

Coach Andrew Edwards, who prepares Jamaica’s U17 squad said he thinks that Marshall should be playing for a premier league team. He also said ¬†Marshall needs to work on his strength and improve technically but can he do that playing in the domestic league? Perhaps. Walter Boyd, Onandi Lowe and Theodore Whitmore demonstrated similar skills so it is possible.

However, I feel getting him into a proper football academy maybe in the UK or somewhere in Europe like that youngster Leon Bailey who did a lot of developmental work at Genk in Belgium, would be ideal. I am sure there are people here in Jamaica who can facilitate that kind of move that would be in the best interest the youngster.

For until we have a properly funded youth development system here in Jamaica that will be able to produce several Alex Marshalls, we have to nurture the ones who are here now. Jamaica needs them but isn’t ready to start producing them. Until then perhaps we can have someone else help along the way.

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levyl Posted by: levyl November 17, 2015 at 4:16 pm