Mon | Jun 18, 2018

Ricketts to continue Burrell legacy

Published:Monday | September 18, 2017 | 12:00 AM
JFF building in New Kingston on Monday July 31, 2017.
New Jamaica Football Federation president Michael Ricketts.

Newly elected Jamaica Football Federation president Michael Ricketts has said that although he is looking to carry what he calls the "legacy" of late former president Captain Horace Burrell, he will look to put new strategies in place to oversee the nation's football.

Outgoing interim president Bruce Gaynor had said on Thursday that whoever becomes the new president will be expected to carry on the work he had done after temporarily succeeding Burrell. He added that he will still be a member of the JFF's board and his voice will still matter. Ricketts, whose comments suggest he is accepting of Gaynor's position, said Burrell's legacy should be protected.

Local football administrators, pundits, coaches, players and the general public alike have had criticisms of the Burrell led administration for many years and had, at times, called for a change in direction of how the sport was governed.

Ricketts was asked if this meant that new approach should be taken, rather than looking to continue what was being done during in the periods of Burrell and Gaynor. In response, he said: "Not everything will be done the same way, I can assure you."

"We were deficient, I think, in support to the parishes, and that includes field development and a strong youth programme. Of course, like I have been saying, I want a sponsor that will unilaterally (on its own) sponsor all the parishes' youth programmes. So all the parishes would have a common template, Under-13, Under-15, Under-17. This means they play the same way, the coaches are coached the same way and we would develop a Reggae Boyz brand going forward. We must strengthen our youth programme. That must get priority right now."

However, Ricketts said that he likes the structure of the JFF-Digicel Elite Under 18 league and intends to continue with it.

"I like that competition, in fact, I strongly advocated for something similar in Jamaica," he said. "A number of good schools, based on location, facility and opportunity, have some good players that just get lost because they can't get into a confederation or a Premier League set-up.

"We must strengthen that competition and put some scouts in place so we can extract from it, maybe 30 or 40 players and we can work with them going forward. We would get from that, the Under 20s and probably by extension, the Olympic squad which is Under-23s."