-Western Grandstand- JFF stagnant, needs fresh leadership
While I am not saying Orville Powell is the best man or the right man to lead Jamaica's football, I believe the sport is crying out for new leadership as things are seemingly grinding to a halt under Captain Horace Burrell's stewardship.
When Burrell was displaced by Crenston Boxhill as Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) boss in November 2003, I felt the affiliates had made the wrong move because as far as I was concerned, while Burrell had seemingly become tired or complacent, he was still influential on the global stage.
However, things are very different now. The considerable influence Burrell once had is no more. His former allies in CONCACAF, the disgraced Austin 'Jack' Warner, Chuck Blazer and Jeff Webb are now condemned to the scrap head of global football; and his main FIFA ally, FIFA president Sepp Blatter, is seemingly facing a similar fate.
While I am sure that Jamaica will forever be grateful to Burrell for guiding us to the 1998 World Cup in France, I still believe that had it not been for his sponsorship of several parish associations through the Captain's Bakery, something many feel is unethical under the statutes of FIFA, he would not be the JFF president today.
Whether real or mere perception, one gets the feeling that the parishes that are benefiting from the Captain's Bakery sponsor need to stay loyal to Burrell to protect their interest, a scenario which would definitely give Burrell an unfair advantage in any campaign for leadership based on the number of parishes so impacted.
Regardless of whether or not Powell gains any traction in his bid to become president, I believe that in outlining his reasons for seeking the presidency, he has made some pertinent issues about the state of Jamaica's football that need to be answered. Additionally, he has taken himself out of the 'wimp category' insofar as standing up for what he believes in.
Two of the issues Powell has touched have been my pet peeve for a long time. The 'one-man-band style of leadership of the JFF and the absence of a proper developmental programme, which has resulted in the junior football being divested to the Inter-Secondary School Sports Association (ISSA) and the senior programme to the Premier League Players' Association (PLCA).
As a consequence of the JFF's weak presence in football outside of the Reggae Boyz, junior football has now become a three-month exercise, which spans the life of the schoolboy season, while the senior programme is nothing more than a farce as the Red Stripe NPL is primarily being contested by KSAFA and St Catherine teams
In fact, if one wishes to be fair, if we did not have the English league and the MLS to recruit players to feature as Jamaica's Reggae Boyz, we probably would not be able to field a credible team at this time.
Any serious local football administrator must be concerned when we can't get more than two or three local players in the training squad.
If the leadership of the various parish associations really thinks that the current scenario is good for Jamaica's football, they too need to be cast aside by their affiliates, who must realise that they are not acting in their best interest in terms of restoring pride to the nation's football.
Whether it is going to be Orville Powell or someone else, I strongly believe Jamaica's football deserves much better than what we are getting from the current JFF leadership. I believe with organised and structured leadership, we could well begin to produce footballers that are on par with our world class track athletes.
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