Sun | May 31, 2020

Oral Tracey | Another four years of Ricketts

Published:Monday | September 16, 2019 | 12:00 AM
The headquarters of the Jamaica Football Federation in New Kingston.

We will be seeing Michael Ricketts as president of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) for another four years.

This is hardly a congratulatory message to him for being returned unopposed as head of the nation’s sporting body with the highest profile but more of a reluctant admission of the inevitable reality. A reality that Ricketts and his band of friends will actually have the nation’s football in their incompetent clutches for another four years.

Shortly after it emerged that there would be no challengers for the JFF presidency, I ran into Ricketts, and his quip to me was: “You will have another four years of me to criticise.”

It appears that the football fraternity has developed immunity to the almost daily dose of incompetence and ineptness by the current JFF leadership. The gaffs have been countless, with Ricketts and his general secretary, Dalton Wint, getting constant bombardment with round after round of public criticism as the erosion of the image and reputation of the federation intensifies.

Despite all that revolving reality, the parish presidents could not among them conjure up the ‘testicular fortitude’ to at least try to rescue the nation’s football from its current path of destruction. The parishes, instead, unanimously supported the current state of affairs and the general downward trajectory of Jamaica’s football.

Local fans of the sport are left with no choice but to love and support football as best we can, despite the presence of Ricketts and his administration. Constitutionally, they are the legitimate and duly elected leaders of the federation and, by extension, the nation’s football. Outside of a no-confidence vote, which would have to come from within their own ranks, we are stuck with Ricketts and company for the next four years.

Suggestions that Ricketts replace the current general secretary as a means of rescuing the image and reputation of the JFF have so far fallen on deaf ears. Ricketts sees Mr Wint as one of his most loyal and dedicated soldiers and will not let him go. That reality, in and of itself, highlights what is so wrong with this administration, where the politics of the football takes precedence over the wider interest of the sport in Jamaica. Ricketts is more concerned about keeping his loyal confidant happy than putting a competent general secretary in place.


Let us not fool ourselves. Running the national football programme is no easy task. The debt-ridden federation is rife with a myriad of problems, with no easy solutions in sight. The JFF is in a situation that calls even more for prudent, pragmatic, and visionary leadership in the management of those very scarce resources. Based on the last two years, Ricketts and his team have proven that they are incapable of competently handling that task.

Thanks to the astute work of coach Theodore Whitmore, the senior men’s team has been holding its own by continuing to get reasonable results against all the odds. The relationship between the JFF and the senior Reggae Girlz continues to be rocky. The age-group programmes for both men’s and women’s teams get the ad hoc short-term treatment as per affordability.

All well-wishers and fans of the local game cannot, and should not, give up hope. We should all continue to keep Ricketts and his administration honest by holding them accountable every single step of the way. We should hope that there are some major improvements in their competence and performance levels going forward, short of which we are like helpless lambs to the slaughter. That is unless, of course, some men with ‘testicular fortitude’ emerge from within that very same administration with that extreme but effective weapon of a no-confidence motion.