Coach Donaldson among 2023 Bell/Ziadie honorees
(From left) Lorne Donaldson, head coach of the Jamaica senior women's football team; the late Dennis Ziadie's son Nicholas; and Bell/Ziadie Memorial Festival lead organiser Clive "Busy" Campbell, during the launch at the Alhambra Inn on Tuesday. (Photo: Joseph Wellington)

The 38th staging of the Bell/Ziadie Memorial Football Festival is to be held on October 16 at St George's College, with Jamaica's Reggae Girlz Head Coach Lorne Donaldson among the four honorees.

The other honorees are former national player Calvin "Webber" Stewart, described by Donaldson as the "best centre half that nobody knows"; former national and St George's College star Cornell "Granny" Marshall, the father of retired Reggae Boy Tyrone Marshall; and Othneil "Dolphy" Gordon, the curator at Jamaica College.

The Bell/Ziadie Memorial Football Festival is staged in honour of two of Jamaica's most influential football figures — Winthrop "Jackie" Bell and Dennis Ziadie — both of whom died in a bus crash while attending the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.

Clive "Busy" Campbell, who was presented with a Reggae Girlz T-shirt by Donaldson, for keeping the memory of both Bell and Ziadie alive with the football festival, said the Reggae Girlz showed grit and determination under Donaldson despite all the distractions that could have easily derailed their efforts.

"Congratulations to the team, the coach and special thanks to the force behind the success, Ms Cedella Marley and the JFF," said Campbell.

"This accomplishment by the Reggae Girlz is a true lesson for all. Not every road in life is smooth, there will be challenges and some unforeseen circumstances that could have easily made them lose their focus," he added.

Meanwhile, guess speaker Donaldson was gracious to be an honoree at the Bell/Ziadie match and he implored the local administrators to utilise the vast knowledge of coaches abroad that could help the football significantly.

Donaldson named a few in Wolde Harris, Tyrone Marshall, Ryan Thompson, and Andy Williams.

"We have a lot of coaches out there that played for Jamaica that would love to come in and do something with the country. We have a whole heap of top-notch coaches. They are willing to come back and share their knowledge, but we don't invite them back," he noted.

Donaldson reminisced about his interactions with "Jackie" Bell and Dennis Ziadie, citing they were well ahead of their time.

He made reference to the Jamaica Under-17 female team that was recently beaten at home by Panama in the Concacaf qualifier, noting that could never happen in Bell's time.

"Jackie Bell wudda drape up somebody and then Dennis was a good match for Jackie because he was calm as ice. So, when [was] Jackie fiery, Dennis just calmed you down, which was good," he noted.

Four teams, Christian Ambassadors, St George's Old Boys, a Referees team, and an All-Star team, are set to feature in next month's staging of the festival.

Nick Ziadie, son of Dennis, was on hand to give remarks on behalf of his family. He recalled playing under Donaldson at Colorado Foxes in the United States.

"I want to acknowledge Busy Campbell who has put on this event year after year on Heroes' Day and this has kept their names alive and carries on their legacies," said Ziadie.

"Most of you know my father as a footballer, player and coach but many may not know that he was a born-again Christian in his latter years.

So, the fact that he was devoted to bringing others to Christ was very important too. We must remember this as we remember him, we must put God first above everything. On behalf of the family, my mother and siblings I want to thank Busy for remembering my father year after year," said Ziadie.

Howard Walker

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