MONTEGO BAY, St James - POINTING to the relatively small turnout at the Thanksgiving Service for former football coach Clinton 'Wesso' King at Jarrett Park on Saturday, Pastor Knollis King is questioning the treatment meted out to persons who have left the competitive arena after serving the country.
A strident Pastor King, a relative of the late football coach, who is also the councillor for the Montego Bay South East Division, told the small number of mourners that he was expecting a much larger turnout at the service for "the man who served football in the parish with great distinction, and coached Seba United when they became the first rural area team to win the National Premier League title in 1986".
"If they can treat 'Wesso' like this, how will they treat Steve Bucknor, how will they treat (former footballer and coach Edwin) 'Alcock'? he asked, as he named a number of sports personalities who were in attendance, including national senior men's football team head coach Theodore 'Tappa' Whitmore, former national striker Paul 'Tegat' Davis, and sports administrator Jerry Reid.
Jamaica Football Federation president Captain Horace Burrell and Members of Parliament Lloyd B Smith and Dr Horace Chang, as well as Mayor of Montego Bay Glendon Harris were also among the mourners.
'Wesso' King died last month at the age of 65 after being ill for a few years.
A large turnout was expected at the service for the man who was respected by many in the society, especially those he worked at Seba United.
However, just a few dozen mourners showed up many of whom left midway the service.
But in spite of this, King, who was honoured by the Jamaica Football Federation in 2010 and was Presented with a plaque by FIFA president Josef 'Sepp' Blatter, was remembered as a man who was fiercely loyal, committed and a father figure to many youngsters.
Member of Parliament for Central St James Lloyd B Smith, said in his tribute that it was "important that 'Wesso' King is not forgotten".
Smith who attended primary school with King added that there must be a way for Seba United to be reorganised, as he called on the JFF to revisit the five-year exclusion rule, and allow a team to be renamed Seba United.
Seba United had changed its name to Montego Bay United when they returned to the Red Stripe Premier League last season. But according to FIFA rules, once a team changes its name, that name cannot be used in the same country for at least five years.
Meanwhile, Chang said it was time for people like King to be recognised and honoured for their work at the community level. He described the late football coach as "one who had an eye for talent and could spot good players".