Jamaican football on life support
Please allow me a space to address some issues in Jamaica’s football.
With just days to go before the country knows who is going to lead Jamaica’s football for the next four years, there are obvious concerns the entire programme is now in a coma and not breathing on its own.
Chief doctor Michael Ricketts; Dennis Chung, his assistant; and Rudolph Speid playing the role of anaesthetist have relegated patient Jamaica Football to a point of almost no return.
The football family at this time is requesting your prayers but not privacy.
Whether our dear football can return from death’s door will be a matter for the voting delegates to decide shortly. However, one thing is certain, if this current “medical team” returns, we will no doubt inform you of funeral arrangements in short order.
Not so long ago the Reggae Girlz carried this nation to a place on the football world stage where none of our other national teams had been. Within weeks they were nowhere to be seen. The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) did that.
Weak men pick fights with women, and weak men bully and ignore the concerns of women. Real men know that if you pick a fight with a Jamaican woman it is to your own peril and you ignore them to your further peril.
It is my belief that Cedella Marley, global ambassador for the Reggae Girlz, left the programme in protest of how the Girlz are being treated. Her move has set back the women’s programme 10 years. This is a major blow.
But guess what, Elaine Walker-Brown, the lady who stood up and fought for women’s football in Jamaica sometime ago when the men killed it, is now running as first vice-president on the ticket of the incumbent JFF President Michael Ricketts.
Walker-Brown, what are you doing? Sending your reputation and legacy into free fall? I am sure you will never be seen in the same light or held in the same esteem as before. Then again, even though we speak of the resolve of our Jamaican women, in the midst there are exceptions.
Looking at the two slates for the election, it is evident that JFF presidential candidate Raymond Anderson’s team has competent individuals who are capable of bringing life back to football. The entire slate put forward by Ricketts cannot match the individual leadership qualities of Anderson, Keith Wellington, or Dave Cameron.
At this point no team of sports administrators in Jamaica, with the exception of cricket, can be deemed to be more underperforming than this JFF Administration. The prefect body of any high school in Jamaica would do a better job of running the JFF.
I would like to publicly apologise to Dalton Wint, the former general secretary of the JFF, who I once labelled as being utterly ineffective. Chung is now proudly wearing that title. In fact, I am of the view that Chung, Ricketts, and Billy Heaven of cricket are now locked in a three-way tie for the worst sports administrators Jamaica has ever produced â€” and there is nothing to separate them.
I am not clairvoyant, but not long ago I warned the Caribbean against removing Cameron as head of West Indies Cricket. Under his leadership we were Twenty20 men’s and women’s world champions as well as under-19 men’s champions simultaneously. Recently, West Indies named its weakest team since 1930 for any Test series. This team is now in Australia. Embarrassment awaits us. I also encouraged local cricket administrators to shun Heaven. Today, Heaven has brought cricket in Jamaica to hell.
In the case of the JFF and the upcoming election, based on what has transpired over the last two months, Ricketts looks set to return. However, if the delegates vote on his performance, he has no chance.
We, the members of the football family, are waiting to see if the delegates will give Anderson and his team the opportunity to try to revive the programme or if they will allow Team Ricketts to cause us to wear only the black in our flag.