Dr Donovan Bennett, first vice-president of the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA), would like to see the new Government invest more in sports at the early-childhood, primary- and secondary-school levels.This, he said, is a result of the emergence of sports as a bludgeoning industry and one rich with numerous opportunities.”Whoever forms the new Government, I would like to see them take up the responsibility of investing more in sports, primarily at the school level,” said Dr Bennett, who is a medical doctor by professional.”They need to understand that sport has now become an important industry, even as important as academics right now.”It, therefore, needs to be a part of syllabus in schools and be encouraged as a proper career choice and not just an after-school activity,” he added.Dr Bennett, a former coach, manager and now adviser of high-school cricket powerhouse St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS), said neglect at that level was prominent and has been affecting the growth and development of the game.LIMITED FUNDING”Neither the WICB nor the JCA can really afford to fund cricket at the high school level,” he said.”What happens at this level is that cricket is sponsored by a few companies and sometimes individuals.”He expressed that, for example, current national coach, Junior Bennett, and himself used to shoulder the burden for STETHS in the late 1970s and 1980s, and today, the results are there for all to see.For the past two decades, they have been all-island champions and in the process produced West Indies players such as Jerome Taylor, Darren Powell and Nikita Miller.”It is hard to replicate this across the island,” he said of STETHS’ success model.”Most schools can’t afford to employ proper coaches, improve cricket facilities, or attend to good player development.”Meanwhile, Bennett, who is also a director of the West Indies Cricket Board and head of the regional governing body’s medical panel, also pointed to the financial benefits of sports.This, he said, includes occupations such as athletes, coaches and managers, as well as organisers, marketers and sports law executives.”We need to start teaching students about the total value of sports,” noted Bennett.”This includes not only the physical and mental health value, but also its economic value.”He said there is also the role of sports in national and regional development, as evidenced by the success over the years of West Indies cricket.”Cricket has over the years been used to help to shape societal values, norms and practices, and I would like to see that still happen.”For example, while there is a lot of money to be made now from playing cricket, I would like to see players demonstrating more pride, honour and privilege to represent their country and region.These cricket virtues, Bennett expressed, is more than likely to have a greater impact on players if they are taught in schools as part of the curriculum.
MADRID (AP):Diego Costa has been left out of the Spain squad because of an injury, coach Vicente del Bosque said yesterday. Del Bosque announced his squad for upcoming friendlies against Italy and Romania.”Diego came off from a match with an injury in his quadriceps muscle, but four days later, because Chelsea had much at stake, he was made to play again and finished in some pain,” del Bosque said. “Although the doctors said he was getting better, we have opted not to include him.”Last Saturday, Costa was sent off in Chelsea’s FA Cup loss to Everton for “improper conduct”. He was given a second yellow card after thrusting his head towards Gareth Barry before appearing to make a biting motion on the side of the midfielder’s neck. Both players later said there was no bite.Del Bosque said Costa’s behaviour was not a cause of concern.”There are two months to go before I choose my final squad for the European Championship and absolutely no one – not even Diego Costa – is currently excluded,” Del Bosque said.Costa’s place in attack was taken by Aritz Aduriz, who scored a hat-trick in Athletic Bilbao’s 4-1 win over Deportivo La Coruna and then clinched his team’s Europa League win with an away goal against Valencia.De Bosque said playmaker Andres Iniesta had also been left out because of a muscle problem.”He had discomfort and we considered it appropriate not to include him,” Del Bosque said.
VICE-PRESIDENTS Harris, a business executive and educator, has former West Indies player Nehemiah Perry as his first vice-president nominee and Dr Joyce Graham-Royal, principal of G.C. Foster College, as second vice-president. The other executive committee nominees are: Team Heaven – Diahann Campbell, honorary secretary; Clinton Clarke, assistant secretary; Hopeton Morrison, treasurer and Kerry Scott, assistant treasurer. Team Harris – Randy Nelson, honorary secretary; Dennis Gordon, assistant secretary; Loren Edwards, treasurer; Errol Moodie, assistant treasurer. “We came into office with the promise that we would work to improve the quality of life for all our stakeholders in the Jamaican cricket family. We have kept our promise,” Heaven said. “There is still, however, much to be done to widen and deepen the scope of that improvement.” Harris, in the meanwhile, in his pre-election document, which was titled “Team Cricket”, said his mission was to rebuild the sport. “I am challenging because there is a cry for help,” he told The Gleaner. “Cricket is really struggling and the kind of will that is required was not shown by the president over the past two years.” Incumbent president Wilford “Billy” Heaven will be challenged by incumbent secretary Fritz Harris at the annual general meeting of the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) at the Jamaica Conference Centre. The contenders, who will enter the elections with a slate of six other executive committee nominees, will be vying for votes from a delegate list of 101 members. Topping the list other executive committee nominees are by Dr Donovan Bennett and former West Indies ‘A’ representative, Mark Neita, running as first and second vice-president, respectively, along with Heaven, the chief executive officer of the state-run Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund.