Courts boosts Burrell Centre of Excellence with furniture and appliances
From left: Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) Women's Committee Chairperson Elaine Walker-Brown; FIFA MA Development Manager Malaika Church; JFF President Michael Ricketts; Courts Jamaica Brand Manager Simone Mahabeer; and Courts Jamaica Cross Roads Branch Manager Chancel Rowe pose for photographs during the handover of household items by Unicomer Jamaica to the JFF at Courts Jamaica's Cross Roads branch in Kingston on Friday. (PhotoL Karl McLarty)

UNICOMER Jamaica, through its brands Courts Jamaica and Lucky Dollar, has provided the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) with new furniture and appliances, as well as funds, as the first major gesture of their sponsorship.

The JFF's lodging for its national teams, at the UWI-JFF Captain Horace Burrell Centre of Excellence at the Mona campus of The University of the West Indies, will be outfitted with items consisting of one toaster, one industrial toaster, two steam irons, two kettles, a microwave, three computers, two blenders, a six-burner gas stove, and 20 mattresses.

The federation will also receive $1 million, bringing the overall value of Unicomer's gesture to $2 million.

The items were officially handed over to JFF officials at Courts Jamaica's Cross Roads branch in Kingston on Friday afternoon.

JFF President Michael Ricketts said he is humbled by the gesture.

"We want to say a huge thanks to Courts — and it's just a reunion because Courts would have been on board for a while, then we lost them. They are back on board and we are just excited," Ricketts said.

The items donated will replace dated objects now at the Centre of Excellence.

"We have 52 beds so we will be replacing 20 of the older ones. So we will certainly try to get new ones and, as time goes by, we'll want to replace the older ones," he said.

Courts Brand Manager Simone Mahabeer says her company made the donations because of how important sport is to Jamaicans.

"Sport is a big thing in Jamaica," she said. "It's a part of our culture, it's a part of who we are as a people, and it's another thing that Courts believes in that helps to pull our people together. It's a part of our national pride and our culture — and we are very big on that and we want to continue building our people as we continue building our brand."

Ricketts says that he hopes other corporate entities will be influenced by Unicomer and be moved to play a role in helping the national teams.

"I'm asking corporate Jamaica to come on board," he said. "We have had some missteps but we just need help. I want to be very humble in saying that corporate Jamaica and those who understand football just need to come on board and assist us. We have an open-door policy that embraces any entity that is willing to help us, going forward."

The JFF is preparing for a busy summer for its two senior national teams. The Reggae Boyz travel to Austria where they take on Qatar and Jordan in international friendly matches on June 15 and 19, respectively. They then travel to the United States of America for their participation in the Concacaf Gold Cup later this month.

The Reggae Girlz will go into a training camp as they prepare for their second participation at a FIFA Women's World Cup, in Australia and New Zealand next month.

— Rachid Parchment

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