Thu | Mar 22, 2018

JFF needs change - Hall

Published:Saturday | December 10, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Jamaica's Owayne Gordon (right) dribbles pass Suriname's Saverio Adene during a recent Caribbean Football Union qualifier inside the National Stadium. Jamaica won 1-0.

Local administrators, coaches, and fans all say that the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) has many shortcomings. They say one of these is its leadership.

Michael Hall, the former general manager of the Sports Development Foundation, agrees, describing Jamaica's football as stagnant.

"The level of success of any sport must be measured by the level of sustainable development programmes which have been put in place by its governing body to ensure, or at least provide, the pathway to that success. There is no evidence that this has been, or is being, done here." Hall said.

Hall said that he is not satisfied with the work the JFF has done since qualifying for World Cup '98 in France as he believes that it has no clear vision for developing the game and believes that JFF president Captain Horace Burrell is not the man to take the JFF forward.

"We are grateful for his service, but he has never taken criticism well, even if it is constructive, and now, more than ever, he has to realise that he has outlived his usefulness," Hall said.

Hall's comment that Burrell is not open to criticism may be with regard to the federation's suspension of St Ann Football Association president Donald 'Danny' Beckford.

Beckford was recently suspended for six months for a letter he wrote requesting Burrell's resignation.


Hall did not give a specific name as an ideal replacement for Burrell but spoke about character traits he expects of this person.

"I don't know his name, but whoever he is, he must be someone who embraces the fact that you cannot build a house from the roof down. He must be someone who can articulate the way in which football is going to be developed in Jamaica so that we are producing quality players at home - players who have come through a coordinated programme of development, which focuses on teaching best practices from the earliest possible age."

Will anyone challenge Burrell in the JFF's next presidential election? One man who said he would is current Kingston and St Andrew Football Association (KSAFA) president Ambassador Stewart Stephenson.

Stephenson is thought by many to have enough experience in Jamaican football. The son of former national player Arthur Burchell, Stephenson played for Kingston College and Real Mona Football Club before he, too, represented Jamaica in the 1970s. The tradition has been passed on to a third generation in his family as his son Khari was also a Reggae Boy, playing for Jamaica between 2004 and 2011.

Stephenson is familiar with the operations at the JFF. He is an executive member of its board, but he said that being president of the body is not a high priority for him when elections come around. He said, while laughing heartily, that whenever a possible candidate for presidency is being discussed, his name is somehow always mentioned.

"Quite frankly, the leadership of the JFF would not, for me, be a difficult challenge because of the ideas and the experience that I have," Stephenson said. "But that is not something that is a priority for me right now. If a vacancy became available, that is not something that I could undertake unless it's a fully paid, fully remunerated, and an attractively paying job."

If many believe Burrell is not willing to listen to criticism regarding the federation's shortcomings, they will be less likely to find common ground on improving Jamaican football for future generations.