MONTEGO BAY, St James — Chairman of the Western Confederation Linnell McLean and the St James Football Association have come out in support of the stewardship of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) by current boss Captain Horace Burrell.
With Jamaica currently at the bottom of the six-team CONCACAF World Cup final round with four points and in jeopardy of missing their fourth consecutive FIFA World Cup Finals after their historic qualification for France 1998, there have been mounting calls for Burrell to step down as JFF president.
At Friday afternoon's awards ceremony of the Sandals/ATL Group St James Senior League held at Sandals Carlyle in Montego Bay, McLean and members of the St James Football Association threw their full support behind Burrell.
According to McLean, who is also the president of the Trelawny Football Association, but for a few breaks here and there Jamaica's position in the points standings would have been much better and there would not be this call for Burrell to step down.
This, Mclean said, can be traced directly back to not having a strong local squad in place because of lack of funding at the JFF level.
While saying most of those calling for Burrell to step down have not done enough to help the game at any level in the country, McLean said the president's direct sponsorship of many parish competitions resonated with them at the parish level, given the direct help that they all badly needed.
"We as FA presidents answer to clubs," he said "And (Burrell) answer to parish associations... and we here at the west support Burrell and we decry this call (for his head)," McLean said in his remarks as confederation chairman.
"We want to see the efforts continue... you have been making strides, our coaches have been getting certified and then we will expect that the players will become better prepared so that we can have a better prepared local squad.
"Yes, maybe we should have had a stronger local squad, but the funds weren't in place for that," he said. "And as a matter of fact, the direction that we took, a one goal here and a one goal there and there wouldn't be this outcry."
McLean pointed out that while no praise was high enough for the efforts of Waterhouse striker Jermaine 'Tuffy' Anderson whose fairytale last-minute equalising goal against Costa Rica after coming on as a late second-half substitute at the National Stadium on September 10 kept Jamaica's already thread-thin chances alive, there were still lots the local clubs still needed to be doing.
"When we look at the local squad now, and while we must applaud 'Tuffy' for what he did you see now that the new coach has put 'Tuffy' on a specific programme for this training, which means that something at the club level is still not in place.
"The training we get at the club level still needs to be stepped up to ensure that players can compete properly, not just to perform in a one match, but can compete properly against others for a place in the national squad," the former KSAFA boss said.
McLean said if there was more support for the football programme, especially at the local levels, maybe there would not be any need for a change at the top.