Cedella Marley pleased with Nat'l HonourTuesday, September 15, 2020
BY BRIAN BONITTO
AS a child, Cedella Marley remembers seeing her dad, reggae king Bob Marley, playing football on the lawns of their Hope Road residence in St Andrew.
She describes her connection with the sport, like music, as a synergy.
“For my father, football was his way of freeing his mind. It wasn't work for him — it was fun and freedom and my memories of him with football are of family and joy. He played with my brothers and his friends often,” the CEO of Tuff Gong International told the Jamaica Observer from her Florida base.
“Football to me was always something I enjoyed as a spectator. I cheered for my brothers and then for my sons from the sidelines,” she continued.
Cedella Marley will receive the Order of Distinction in the rank of Commander (CD) for her work with the national women's football programme. She will be recognised at the annual National Honours and Awards Ceremony on National Heroes' Day, October 19.
Marley said she is elated at the acknowledgement by the Jamaican Government.
“It wasn't something I expected. I was surprised because, in my eyes, it's been about service and working to see that the programme would receive the chance to perform the way I knew they could. I am honoured that Jamaica sees that work as a productive contribution to what is really a national moment,” she said.
“My feeling is that it will hopefully bring more awareness and assistance to the Reggae Girlz and Jamaican football on a whole.”
Through her involvement and donations, she rescued the Reggae Girlz, who subsequently qualified in October 2018 for the FIFA Women's World Cup in France in 2019. She became a global ambassador and recorded Strike Hard with her brothers Stephen and Damian.
Despite the team's exit in the preliminary stages of the competition, she feels there is more work to be done.
“Qualifying for a World Cup is history, yes. But, the story is far from over and the programme is still in need of support, especially in this time,” she said.
Marley said she became aware of the Reggae Girlz' plight through her youngest son, who brought home a flyer in February 2014.
“As a Jamaican woman who has known what it's like to have to overcome challenges just for the chance to go after visions and goals that are so clear to you, but unseen by others, how could I look at these talented, determined, young Jamaican women and not step up?” and rhetorically.
“By March, Captain Burrell was on a conference call with me asking me to become their ambassador. The rest, from 2014 to the 2018 qualification, is literally history,” she added.
Captain Horace Burrell was the president of the Jamaica Football Federation, and a vice-president of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football. He died of cancer in June 2017. He was 67.
She had some advice for girls with big aspirations and little resources.
“I would say not to get too caught up in what you do or do not have as material/financial resources. There are many people that have material resources and still do not succeed because they lack discipline and faith. Growing up, my parents instilled in me that once I am willing to work hard for what I want, nothing and no one can stop me. Your work ethic and your own mindset are the most important resources to getting where you want to go. Once you have that, the material resources can always follow,” she added.
An author of several children's books, Marley is a former member of sibling group Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers, which won three Grammy Awards before disbanding in 2002.
Her father died in May 1981 of cancer. He was 36.
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