The JFF a hindrance to progress
To say the proverbial chickens are coming home to roost within the ranks of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) is an understatement. And, as I have been saying for the greater part of the last two years, the federation's president, Captain Horace Burrell, is steadily proving to be more of a liability than an asset to what is left of our once proud football product.
Within recent years, Jamaica's football has been like a man walking the plank, the popular measure that was used by pirates to execute condemned men via drowning at sea. It is therefore a welcome to see more and more people, including some very stubborn members of the media, waking up to the reality that our football is now a badly damaged product which is crying out for renewal.
It really pains my heart to see a patriot like Carl Brown, who has served Jamaica so dutifully as both player and coach, caught up in a public spat with Burrell, who in addition to his autocratic style, outside of matters relating to the Premier League Clubs Association (PLCA) and KSAFA, leaves me to wonder if he thinks he is lord and master of Jamaica's football.
As far as I am concerned, since his contribution to Jamaica's historic qualification to the World Cup in France 1998, Burrell has not done anything to further advance Jamaica's football in any significant ways globally. In fact, while we were an emerging football power when we qualified for France, we have regressed so badly since that we are no longer a respected force within CONCACAF.
Like I did earlier this year when I commended Danny Beckford, the St Ann FA president, for speaking frankly and fairly about the structural weaknesses in the administration of Jamaica's football, I would now like to commend Carl Brown for standing up like a man and trampling the disrespect which was shown to him.
In reading the sequence of exchanges between Burrell and coach Brown in the lead-up to and his rejection of the offer to coach the national team in the two upcoming Caribbean Cup matches, I got the feeling that the JFF boss was acting unilaterally, hence the tacky exchanges that caused Brown to feel 'insulted' and 'disrespected.'
The subsequent efforts by the JFF at damage control speaks volumes with regard to the wider problem within the organisation, which has now become a vehicle for peddling positions that have not been carefully thought out, resulting in issues such as the players' revolts we have had in recent years and the various pushbacks we have seen from the PLCA when
they feel their space has been invaded.
While I am fully supportive of the position Carl Brown took in rejecting the JFF's offer to coach the team, I am not going to
condemn Theodore 'Tappa' Whitmore who responded to the call, because
in doing so, the
former midfield general has basically opened up the JFF to ridicule for pushing him aside for Winfried Sch%0fer at a time when he had the best record of all local coaches. His record was only inferior to that of the Brazilian RenE Simies.
However, it should be noted that the appointment of Whitmore could also have some ulterior motives because, with the fans in Kingston not really interested in any other football but World Cup qualifiers, Burrell could well be trying to give western Jamaica a 'feel good' feeling with a view of pushing the games Kingston don't want on the west.
My general view at this time is that the time has come for the people of Jamaica to rise up in significant numbers and call for the resignation of every single member of the JFF. It is clear that Burrell has overstayed his welcome, and the other executive members, by their obvious dereliction of duty in allowing our football to fall from grace, are unfit to continue as
part of the much-needed rebuilding.
I would dearly love to see another Jamaican team playing in another senior World Cup tournament, but on the evidence of what we have seen in the last two campaigns, coupled with the inept leadership within the ranks of the JFF, I don't believe that will happen anytime soon. In fact, as is
clearly stated in our National Anthem, without vision, we are poised to perish.