Danny Beckford a credit to local football
While I am in no way affiliated to the St Ann Football Association, I would like to use this opportunity to congratulate the association's affiliates for re-electing their long-serving president, Danny Beckford, to serve yet another term at the helm of the parish's football.
Based on some of the rumblings I heard before the football association's recent annual general meeting, which saw two persons coming forward to challenge Beckford, it would appear that powerful forces in local football were working behind the scene to influence the affiliates to reject Beckford.
I am, therefore, quite pleased that, instead of allowing themselves to be swayed by persons seeking to satisfy their own selfish interests, the affiliates did the right thing, by giving their support to Beckford, the man who has always, unselfishly, given them his all, through thick and thin.
Based on the affiliates' decision to re-elect him, I rather suspect Beckford could find himself struggling to deliver, especially in regard to getting support from the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) and generating sponsorship.
However, knowing Beckford, I am sure he will be unrelenting in his quest to secure the support needed.
Personally, I wish I was in a position to direct Beckford to a source where he could secure whatever assistance he might need. I believe he is man of sound principles, not afraid to stand up and defend what he believes in, qualities I believe should be supported and encouraged.
I do hope the affiliates in St Ann will not be discouraged if the going gets tough, at times, but instead realise that Beckford's dream of making St Ann's football a product worth talking about and emulating, should not be a one-man mission but fully supported by all, including the parish's business community.
As one who has seen what outside influence can do to a good football product here in St James, where a product, which once held pride of place in Jamaica, has been reduced to a mere oddity, because affiliates lost their way and have become pawns in their own chess game.
VOICE FOR CHANGE
While he might not have a lot of support in the halls of power at the JFF because of his decision not to support the federation's boss in the recent JFF elections, I want to see Beckford become the voice of those advocating for change in how the JFF conducts its affairs.
To say Jamaica's football has hit rock bottom at this time would be an understatement because, in a year when the nation should be bubbling with excitement as we are about to hit the final straight in the 2018 World Cup campaign, it would appear that the entire football programme is in a deep sleep.
While it might not be a popular position, I believe it is important that voices such as Beckford's; Montego Bay United FC's Orville Powell; KSAFA boss Stewart Stephenson; and veteran administrator Tony James, whose commitment to the development of football could not be seriously challenged, should take a lead role in speaking out about the damaged state of our football.
Hopefully, if they speak long and loud enough, some local parish presidents, who are seemingly too timid to speak up, might just follow their lead and begin to demand more from those they serve. If we allow the current situation to continue, Jamaica's football could fall off the radar totally.
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