JFF scores with $3.5-m support from JOA for Olympic coaches

Friday, March 22, 2019

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In fulfilling its responsibility as the parent body for sports, the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) extended its support for the men's national Under-23 football team with a $3.5 million funding to cover salary of coaches Donovan Duckie and Merron Gordon.

The financial commitment is an ongoing investment by the JOA in the team's historic quest for a first-time qualification in Olympic football for Jamaica.

“They say third time's a charm. Jamaica and Jamaicans love the excitement that accompanies our sporting exploits and our participation in global events. We look for numerous opportunities to don our national colours and to hoist our flag,” noted Ryan Foster, general secretary of the JOA, reflecting on Jamaica's historic qualification to respective FIFA World Cup tournaments — in 1998 with the men's team and for summer's 2019 women's championship, also in France.

“Being the apex body with responsibility for sports we feel compelled to support our sporting bodies and so we, the JOA, have invested heavily in helping the Jamaica Football Federation have the Under-23 football male team qualify for the 2020 Olympics scheduled for Tokyo, Japan,” noted Foster.

“In 2018, the JOA announced its Olympic Programme geared towards the development of the team for the qualification competitions that should see Jamaica being one of the two teams from Concacaf to participate in the 16-nation Olympic Games tournament,” he added. “The investment in large part has seen the top-tier Under-23 players being provided with access to training camps and practice games, nutritional support, transportation, gear and match-related costs.

“The Concacaf qualifiers begin later this year and so the JOA will continue its investment in the coaches for the Olympic period. We are pleased with the guidance being provided to the team by Mr Donovan Duckie (head coach) and Mr Merron Gordon (assistant coach) and are providing the remuneration required to assist them in giving of the talent in this way for the remainder of the Olympic period,” Foster stated.

The handing over took place at Olympic Manor, the JOA headquarters at Cunningham Avenue in Kingston and Christopher Samuda, its president, said the contribution fits their agenda and implored the youth to stay committed and compete in the spirit of Olympism.

“We are in the business of creating solid partnerships and therefore it was not difficult for us to establish this partnership with the Jamaica Football Federation and I want to thank President Ricketts (Michael) for his accommodation for that,” said Samuda.

“So as we go forward in this camp, as we go forward on this journey to the Olympic Games, I have no doubt that we will see you in Tokyo. But in order for us to see you in Tokyo there has to be a commitment, a commitment that goes beyond self, with nation, a courage as I've indicated that goes beyond self and resides with nation.

“We hope that you will exemplify the spirit of Olympism on the field, and not only on the field but that you will, as the present generation of ambassadors, also transition and telegraph to those who you have a responsibility to lead, that the sport is one of a gentleman's game, it is one of valour, it is one of values and for this our country will record, you, as historic,” Samuda stressed.

Ricketts, the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) president, welcomed the support and expressed hope that its fruits will ripen with Olympic qualification. He lauded the JOA for its foresight and vision and continued commitment to sport development.

“We want to ensure that this joint venture between the JOA and the JFF provides some more historic events,” Ricketts told the audience, which included both coaches and the Under-23 players. “You must be ambassadors. The JFF selected two of who we think are the best coaches in this country and it is up to you to reward us and to reward the JOA. You must commit yourselves, you must be disciplined and I'm absolutely sure the talent is there,” added Ricketts.

“We were absolutely excited and delighted when the Girlz qualified. We're expecting you to make us just as excited and, of course, create one more historic exercise by qualifying, for the first time, a Jamaica football team to the Olympics,” he said.

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