Gordon Williams, Contributor
Captain Horace Burrell
A kindler, gentler Captain Horace Burrell is set to return to office as president of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) after four years in the wilderness from local football's top job.
Burrell, the sole nominee and therefore an automatic selection for the post when JFF's voting congress is held on November 4, has admitted that he reflected on his past stint as JFF president and decided that he must be more tolerant in his new term.
"I have learned, certainly, a number of lessons," he said yesterday while embarking on a trip to the United States and the Caribbean.
"Things this time around will be different. I will be far more inclusive."
During his first stint as president, which lasted close to a decade, the former military man, who helped guide the national programme to some of its greatest successes, including qualification for the finals of the senior, Under-20 and Under-17 World Cups, was often accused of being autocratic.
That trait, many football observers believed, led to his shock defeat by current president, Crenston Boxhill, during JFF elections four years ago.
While few questioned Burrell's ability to get things done, many soured on his dominant leadership style. The scathing accusations, Burrell said, have not been ignored and he is willing to make adjustments.
"You can never escape criticism," he said. "But where I believe that criticism is justified, I will have to respect it.
"I have had time to think about it. It's been four years (out of office)."
Burrell said while he will not abandon his own personality, the reality of the stinging loss in November 2003 had forced him to review his approach this time around.
"There were a number of accusations levelled against me in terms of my leadership style," he explained. "It is not that I will change my leadership style totally. But when criticism has been levelled at you, you have to take a step back.
"I have decided to be more inclusive."
When asked if he would become a kindler, gentler Burrell, the captain answered: "I would want to think so."
Burrell was also quick to thank the reported 12 of 13 parish associations, which nominated him for JFF president. Only the post of first vice-president will be contested on November 4 at the Congress. Incumbent Linnel McLean and Dale Spencer are the candidates.
In addition to Burrell, the other unopposed nominees are Bruce Gaynor, second vice-president; Raymond Anderson, third vice-president; Garfield Sinclair, treasurer; and Lorraine Scringer, executive officer.
Although he is a shoo-in for the post of president, Burrell declined to answer any questions relating to his planned course of action in his new term. However, in a show of his new leadership approach, Burrell said he planned to meet with all the nominees for JFF executive posts soon.
"The last time around I was accused of being autocratic," he said. "I really want to start on a good footing. I should get all the people together for a pow-wow.
"I am humbled by the confidence shown by the football fraternity towards my return," he added. "That is overwhelming. I am appreciative of the confidence shown in me."
Gordon Williams is a Jamaican journalist based in the United States.