Sport

Boyz are standard bearers, charges Webb

…As Burrell is formally returned for another 4-year term as JFF boss

BY HORACE HINES Observer staff reporter

Monday, July 21, 2014    

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — FIFA vice-president and CONCACAF boss Jeffrey Webb has charged Jamaica's Reggae Boyz to remember that they are the standard bearers in the region.

Webb made the charge as a special guest at yesterday's Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) Annual General Meeting (Voting Congress) at the St James Ballroom at the Secrets Hotel and Spa in Montego Bay.

"I want Jamaica to understand the role and responsibility... You are a leader, fly the kite high, you carry the hopes and dreams and vision for the people of the region, understand your responsibility," Webb declared.

The Caymanian added: "some individuals thought it was a right for 98 years the Caribbean couldn't participate (in the COPA America) but for the first time a team from the Caribbean will play COPA America (South American Championship). Congratulations and I am sure Jamaica understands the responsibility, the responsibility to us as a people, understand that the Jamaica team is not just representing us, it has taken 98 years to get there."

Webb noted that the ultimate aim for Jamaica, which will be hosting the CONCACAF Men's Under-20 tournament in Kingston and Montego Bay next January, is to qualify for the World Cup finals to be played in New Zealand.

"The goal must not be to host and to boast sports tourism, that must not be the goal. Yes, we know that the hotels will be happy, the airlines will be happy, the fans will enjoy football, sports tourism," Webb declared.

"The goal must be for Jamaica to qualify for the Under-20 World Cup in New Zealand. That must be the goal. As chairman of the Under-20 World Cup I would love to see Jamaica in New Zealand."

Meanwhile, Captain Horace Burrell was returned unopposed as JFF president.

Other members of the new JFF executive include Bruce Gaynor, first vice-president, Raymond Anderson, second vice-president, Michael Ricketts, third vice-president, Garry Sinclair, treasurer, Peter Reid, executive officer and Raymond Grant, general secretary.

Ricketts and Reid are the two new executive members, following the decision by former first vice-president Dale Spencer not to seek re-election, while Lorna Scringer will take up a new assignment.

Speaking to members of the media following the AGM Captain Burrell, who thanked his colleagues for continuing to place their confidence in him, indicted that the JFF has a "very, very packed schedule" ahead.

"We have first of all, a number of educational courses going on, we have a number of friendlies, we have competitions, I mean it's an enormous task. The schedule is so full. We are going to try to play on each FIFA allotted date, the first in September when we play Canada," Burrell explained.

He added that negotiations are also well advanced for two friendly international games in October. "And there are two dates in October we are now negotiating and we are very, very close to completing."

The returning JFF boss also made mention of the upcoming Caribbean Cup Finals slated for Montego Bay later this year, as well as the South American Centenary Celebrations in the United States in 2016.

"So we are looking to win that tournament. No other result will satisfy at this stage," Burrell argued. The winner of this year's Caribbean Cup game earns automatic qualification to the 2016 South American Centenary Celebrations in the United States.

Then too, the JFF boss revealed that because the national team will be participating in COPA America next year as invited guests, there is growing interests among South American teams to play friendly matches against the Reggae Boyz.

"Let me tell you Jamaica is also going to participate next year in the COPA America. And because we are participating in the COPA America tournament I have been getting quite a few calls from the South America teams to engage. They want to engage Jamaica in friendly internationals. Already our participation in that tournament is beginning to bear fruits," Captain Burrell noted.

In the meantime, the JFF boss warned the players that going forward they will be held accountable for their performances.

"Players are provided with all the tools to perform, but yet they do not perform and when they do not perform the administration gets blamed, coaches get blamed, and so on. Players must take full responsibility for their performance, good or bad. And going forward players are going to be held accountable," Burrell warned.

"Sometimes our players, they lack fitness, they lack the burning desire to play for their country. I am saying wherever you find players like those, I am certain the coaches will not consider them for the team. Unless you are fully committed, fully fit mentally and physically you are not going to make the grade."

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