Western Grandstand : The JFF needs another class act

July 01, 2017

Western Bureau:

In his over two decades at the helm of Jamaica's football, Captain Horace Burrell steadily emerged as a larger-than-life personality, taking Jamaica's football to heights that were quite ambitious but which we thought were out of our realm.

There is no question in my mind that Captain Burrell's contribution will live on in the annals of Jamaica's football for as long as the game remains an integral part of national life, regardless of whether we become a major force globally or just, remain the first English-speaking Caribbean team to qualify for a FIFA World Cup tournament.

With Captain Burrell deceased, the time has come for the nation to find another class act to lead our football - another individual with the capacity to think big and galvanise the nation to participate in a shared vision to lift Jamaica's football back to a position of pride, even here in the CONCACAF region.

I have heard a few names being called as possible candidates for the job. However, except for Horace Reid, the former general secretary of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), I am not impressed. To be frank, they are weaklings, who, over the years, have shown a penchant to follow but not to lead.

I would be quite happy to support a Horace Reid candidacy, but the big question is, given his current involvement in the top leadership of CONCACAF, would he be willing to demote himself and return to the local level to take on that onerous task?

To say that Reid is well prepared and equipped to lead Jamaica's football would be an understatement. Reid has shaped many of the programmes and policies that took Jamaica to the top of Caribbean football back in the 1980s. In addition, he was usually the steady hand that would navigate carefully in times of turbulence.




I have heard the suggestion that former Prime Minister Edward Seaga should be asked to act as interim president in what is a period of uncertainty as the process of ushering in a new president could be hijacked by animosity and 'cass-cass' if the search for a new president becomes a free for all.

I would have to rubbish the Seaga suggestion because once he gets in, I am not sure if it would be easy to get him out. Additionally, having seen the damage that the Premier League Players Association (PLCA) has done to the National Premier League (NPL), I would be more than reluctant to put anyone with ties to that organisation at the helm of our football.

If there was one major flaw in Captain Burrell's stewardship it was the fact that he hid not develop a succession plan. But then again, knowing the former army man, I am sure that he was probably thinking about being at the helm for another two to three decades.

So as the nation's football begins the post-Captain Burrell era, I hope the various stakeholders will have the good sense to use this opportunity to sit down and do a proper assessment of where we are since it is important that we have a short-term plan to keep the ship steady until we get a new captain.

I believe the best way to do justice to Captain Burrell's legacy is to begin plotting a path towards conquering the Caribbean again. I believe the expertise needed to do that lies in the hands of Horace Reid.

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