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Foster's Fairplay | Fresh face needed to lead our football

Published:Monday | July 24, 2017 | 12:00 AM

With the ending of the successful Captain Burrell era, Jamaica's football is at a crossroads. One could with good reason, expect a smooth baton pass to whomever is going to spend the next two years at the steering wheel of the local game. That is the period left on the former army man's stopwatch, and at that stage would give rise to the start of a new thrust for leadership on a fresh mandate.

There are those who would contest the level of success of the Burrell regime. For sure, it was interrupted by Crenston Boxhill's four year stint. Given the heightened tensions and executive tug-o-war which were a feature of the time, it may be argued that his tenure was not going to be allowed to succeed. However, four trips to global finals on the Captain's copy book, cannot easily be brushed aside. That said, it seems ludicrous that any of the candidates for the top post, which will be decided on September 16, must be nominated by no less than four of the 13 parish presidents or their respective agents. Failure to get that amount of supporters will render their candidacy null and void.

Despite that, Foster's Fairplay will take a look at those who have, by their own utterances, pushed their noses forward. The man from the west, Bruce Gaynor, has been installed as interim president, and declared himself not in the running for time at the top. It then was announced that the man whom he beat, Raymond Anderson from St Mary would be returning for the next poll on the September date. Joining him on the campaign trail, are Michael Ricketts of Clarendon, Danny Beckford of St Ann, General Secretary Raymond Grant and the controversial Craig Butler.




Foster's Fairplay, with football in need of new administrative faces and thinking, cannot see itself going for any of those who formed the old guard or could have been influenced by that association. They would have had their chances to make the difference which they now seem to champion. One of their number, Orville Powell, attempted to oppose the existing regime, but got token support. The stage has to be set for a fresh start which in this forum's opinion, a regurgitation of persons who had been given their opportunity, should not be the way to go.

This leaves the way clear for Craig Butler, the Phoenix Football Academy man who already, without title, has accomplished the unexpected. Over the past several years, sidelined and disqualified by the powers that be, he has gathered a number of his boys, taken them to play in Europe and suddenly, things are happening. The fact that his adopted son, Leon Bailey is one of the most sought after young players in Europe, is no accident. Neither is it that his son, Kyle is reported to be on the books of Belgian club KVC Westerlo.

Butler may be seen to be combative, fearless and even over-zealous in his approach to what he deems to be his duty to the financially disadvantaged local youth. This has unfortunately rubbed many of those with whom he has interacted in his quest to take these same youngsters to the heights he sees in their innate talents, in an unacceptable way.

All this may be seen as immaterial to what he can achieve for the nation's image in and out of football, if given the chance he is seeking. Were he elevated to the position as President, it would be a bold move but the same could be said of Burrell's, when he took the mantle in 1994. The Phoenix founder is making boasts of being able to summon corporate and equipment support to make the seemingly unimaginable achievements, possible. He is not scared of being held to these promises which, being clearly measurable, will be easy to track and record for assessment in the short term.

What a treat it would be to the nation if, as President, he can lead Jamaica to companionship with the acknowledged greats in world football, as he is promising to do.

Foster's Fairplay may be accused of dreaming, but was it not a dream which took the country to France in 1998? If this one makes it, the call could be "did the butler really do it?"

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