Salute to a great captain
Jamaica's football suffered a major blow yesterday with the passing of Captain Horace Burrell, the president of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) and FIFA official.
Burrell, 67, died overseas Tuesday afternoon after being ill for some time.
As news of his passing spread across the nation and worldwide, several prominent Jamaicans expressed sadness for his death and gratitude for his contribution to the sport he loved.
Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia 'Babsy' Grange, in a release said, "Football in Jamaica has lost a cornerstone".
The minister described the Captain as a patriot who was fully committed to the development of the sport in Jamaica.
According to Grange, with Burrell as head of the JFF, Jamaica gained respect on the field of play and in the halls of power within FIFA, CONCACAF and even within the global Olympic movement where he served as Vice President of the Jamaica Olympic Association.
"The country owes Captain Burrell a huge debt of gratitude for his work, and his legacy will forever influence Jamaica's football," she said.
Horace Reid, former JFF general secretary, said Burrell had a passion for excellence.
"Captain Burrell was a man of excellence. Anything he does, he is going to give it his all," said Reid.
Robert Finzi Smith, JFF board member, said he and the members of the board would ensure Burrell's legacy remains intact.
"Captain Burrell transformed the affairs of the JFF from a briefcase to a building," he said.
Known as a strong leader, Burrell, a captain in the Jamaica Defence Force, rose to prominence with the military team before being elected to the JFF presidency in 1994.
Burrell was instrumental in Jamaica's qualification to the 1998 FIFA World Cup Finals in France.
He was also a prominent figure in regional football, holding several positions in the Caribbean Football Union and CONCACAF.
Burrell was also the founder of the restaurant chain, The Captain's Bakery and Grill, and Captain's Aviation Services.