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Captain’s still the man

Published:Tuesday | November 10, 2015 | 11:00 AMOral Tracey, Contributor
Burrell

With the challenge by Orville Powell for the unseating of Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) President Captain Horace Burrell fizzing into an anti-climactic no-contest - with Powell embarrassingly getting just one of the required four affiliates to nominate him - it's ample time, again, for some retrospection.

Looking dispassionately at what reasonably might have been and what could have been with a change of leadership at the JFF, I ask myself one simple question. All things considered, would Powell or any another local football administrator be able to do a better job of running the affairs of Jamaica's football than Burrell?

That is the key question the delegates must have asked themselves, and subsequently answered by their overwhelming rejection of the Powell's bid.

There is no doubt that the Montego Bay United Football Club owner has good and honest intentions for local football, but his challenge was rushed and premature. A strident and fearless personality like Powell definitely has a role to play going forward. My recommendation is that he continues to establish himself more as a credible leader by continuing to ask the relevant questions and raising pertinent issues over time, earn himself some more experience, spread his wings within the fraternity and then 'wheel and come again'.

 

Gambling on the unknown

Captain is obviously still the man. Any rushed replacement of the army veteran would be nothing short of a gamble on the unknown at this level of leadership.

However, Captain needs to take heed and realise that not all the subjects in his kingdom are happy with his rule. He needs to answer some of the questions raised by Powell and others, but I never agreed with the notion of 'getting out' Captain just for the sake of getting him out.

When it was done in 2003, I disagreed and I never agreed with it this time around.

The 'hate the Captain' phenomenon is something that I think cuts deeper into the Jamaican psyche than mere football. It's not the norm for a black Jamaican to be as successful as Captain Burrell, both in his private business and in terms of his rise in stature in the corridors of power in world football. Those realities, along with his proud and sometimes arrogant demeanour, will always attract detractors, especially in Jamaica's undeniable 'crab in the barrel' culture.

We tend to accept silly notions such as 'giving another man a chance', 'Captain is there too long', 'he is too arrogant', 'he is too boasy', etc. Performance and achievements are secondary, while the bigger picture is often rendered irrelevant when we make big decisions. What is unfolding in the football is a microcosm of the wider Jamaican society.

I am not saying for one moment that Captain is indispensable or that no one else can manage the affairs of Jamaica's football. But all things considered, his experience, track record, reputation and stature - locally and internationally - Captain Burrell is still the candidate to lead our football.

The decision for Powell was not bad for football. On the contrary, it is very good for football and it would be very unfortunate if Powell and, or Mr Danny Beckford, the St Ann Football Association president who nominated Powell, were in any way victimised for their bold step. We need to get beyond that level of tribal thinking.

The questions raised need answering and the issues highlighted remain unattended, plus Captain needed the wake-up call, even as he moves forward with another emphatic mandate.

I would like to encourage continued unity within the football fraternity, with the understanding that Captain is still, deservedly, THE MAN, and also an appreciation that the very attempt at a challenge by Powell is democracy at work.

That is something we should always cherish and never ever take for granted.