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Sandy Bay close in Major ...
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Captain's Funeral
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Big Clashes coming up for
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23-06-2017, 04:10 PM
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Catherine Hall, Heights t...
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Cavalier 3 - 0 Priory SA
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Captain is Dead. Long Liv...
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BARITA MASTERS FOOTBALL A...
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Whitmore Disappointed Wit...
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Exclamation Sandy Bay close in Major League final
Posted by: fbjnewsie - 18-07-2017, 03:55 PM - Forum: National Premier League - No Replies

Former champions Sandy Bay FC could be the first qualifier for the final of the Hanover Football Association Charley's JB Rum/Captain's Bakery and Grill Major League today if they can avoid a big loss to Johnson Town in their return-leg semi-finals at Watson Taylor Park, set to start at 3:00 pm.

Sandy Bay FC lead 3-0 after winning Saturday's first leg, also played at Watson Taylor Park.

Meanwhile, the other semi-final tie is in the balance after mid-season champions Super Star YC and Grand Palladium ended 1-1 at Watson Taylor Park on Sunday.

Linval Galloway had given Super Star the lead in the 52nd minute only for Renaldo Jewhill to level the scores in the 79th minute going into the return-leg on Wednesday.

On Saturday, Hugh Parker scored his first two goals of the season to stake his team to a 2-0 lead after just 15 minutes.

Parker scored in the fourth and 15th minutes, while an own goal in the 64th minute from Bradwayne Whitmore made it 3-0.

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  Captain's Funeral
Posted by: fbjnewsie - 01-07-2017, 03:20 AM - Forum: Officials - No Replies

In life, Captain Horace Garfield Burrell effortlessy endeared people to himself. In death, his allure kept its magnetism, as thousands flocked to the National Arena to bid a final farewell to one of Jamaica's finest sons — a man of few equals, a man of impeccable vintage and unquestionable character.

Burrell, who lost his valiant battle with prostate cancer on June 6 in the USA, was eulogised as a visionary leader, astute businessman, Jamaican patriot, devoted family man, and a gentleman of refined taste.

These colourful tributes for the former head of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) were not just words coined to paint him in a glorious light. Everything said of the inimitable Burrell was true and honest and flowed from the purest part of the human souls that regaled him.

No doubt, Jamaica has parted ways with a giant among men.

Burrell was 67.

Recognised as the patriarch of modern Jamaican football, Burrell's larger than life attitude, steely determination, and commitment to cause complete the legacy he leaves behind.

But more importantly, he was a champion of his people and loved his country almost to a fault, and his service in their interest goes beyond measure.

However, it was in football that he made his mark. Apart from his family, Captain Burrell loved nothing more.

And though he was at home walking the corridors of the game's power brokers, it was with the business of Jamaica's football that had his heart in a tight knot. He could not break free even if he wanted to. He was hooked.

His signature achievement of leading Jamaica to the promised land of the FIFA World Cup in France 1998 has immortalised him. Captain Burrell is now woven in the fabric of what is great about this spot of land in the Caribbean Sea.

“Horace Burrell was not a man who settled for average, he used to say to me, Coach, you only live once, so you must live in first class. 'He was determined to be the best at everything he did. When he took over the JFF, he set his eyes towards goals no one had achieved before,” shared former Reggae Boyz technical director and Burrell's Road to France co-agitator, the Brazilian Rene Simoes.

“I wasn't available in Brazil, but he convinced me to move to Jamaica with my family to work day and night to support the Road to France programme. He always stands strong by his vision, even through the hardest criticism. Excellence was mandatory for him and he liked everything to be top of the line... and he did live a top of the line life,” the Brazilian went on.

Simoes, who became very close friends with Burrell since their paths first intertwined in 1994, remembered the man as a purveyor of “love and compassion”. And much more.

“(He was) a natural leader, a visionary, a successful businessman, a football lover, and a good servant to Jamaica.

“Behind a tough appearance was a man (of) kindness, a man who have become a part of my life and I will miss hearing him call me 'Big coach'. He was not a perfect man, no one is, but to me he was top of the line and he will be greatly missed,” said Simoes, who wept openly throughout the “top of the line” service for a “top of the line” man.

It was fitting that football dignitaries — from home and abroad — came out to pay their last respects to one of the game's most dynamic personalities, for the suave Burrell made scored in high and low places.

CONCACAF president, Canadian Victor Montagliani, in his tribute, remembered Burrell's unshakeable love for family.

“One of the last conversations I had with Captain Burrell was in Aruba, and I said to him 'Captain you should be proud you have a great family and great kids', and he said to me, 'Vic it is not all about cups, it is about family.' And so through all the work and dedication and appreciation for football, he never forgot that the real world cup was his family,” Montagliani noted.

“Today (yesterday), I stand before you on behalf of the FIFA president and on behalf of the 41 nations of CONCACAF, we are here not only to mourn the loss of a great man and a great friend, but also to celebrate the great accomplishments.

“He was a great football visionary, not only within our region, but in FIFA as well. We will take as victory his years of service to the game and the football family... (we) thank Captain Burrell for his extraordinary passion for the sport and for his tremendous work to capture the fans or to discover new talent,” the Canadian added.

Meanwhile, US Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati hailed Burrell as a pioneer of Jamaica's football.

“We have been friends for a long time, and competitors on the field with our teams for a long time so it's a big loss for Jamaica and the football community. I think he almost single-handedly took the sport to a higher level in Jamaica, and in many ways in the CFU (Caribbean Football Union). He was relentless [and] had a great vision for the sport, and also on top of all that, he was an extraordinary family man. So football as indeed lost a giant,” said the American.

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  Big Clashes coming up for
Posted by: fbjnewsie - 23-06-2017, 04:10 PM - Forum: National Premier League - No Replies

As the battle for the two promotional spots to the nation's top-flight league remains evenly poised, leaders Cavalier Soccer Club will seek to separate themselves from the pack when they take on Rivoli United in the return-round games of the Magnum/Charley's JB JFF Premier League Playoff at Stadium East today.

Meanwhile, second-placed Sandals South Coast and third-placed Priory SA will square off in the other encounter at the former's Crocs Lawn base in Westmoreland. Both games are scheduled for 3:30 pm.

Cavalier, who are currently atop on five points, will be heading into today's contest confident of keeping their unbeaten record intact, having won once and drawn twice. Rivoli will be aiming to recover from a 0-1 loss to Priory SA on last.

It has been quite the ride for both sides thus far, as the last meeting between the two former Premier League outfits ended in a 1-1 stalemate with the KSAFA champions coming from behind to earn a share of the spoils with the South Central winners.

However, while Cavalier stand out as a vibrant contender to move forward, Rivoli United's chances of booking a ticket to the 2017/18 Red Stripe Premier League season is hanging in the balance and they will be optimistic of once again getting the jump on the opponents and holding it to the end.

Head Coach Rudolph Speid is cognisant that it will, by no means, be an easy task with Rivoli United now aiming to keep their hopes alive, as they are rooted at the foot of the four-team table with one point.

“This game is going to be even harder than the first one because Rivoli is wounded. They lost their last game and I think we are really going to have to work hard to get the win because they will be coming hard,” Speid told the Jamaica Observer shortly after their 1-1 draw with Sandals South Coast on Sunday.

The St Catherine-based Rivoli are expected to be led by Liston James, Kenny Lee, Own Walters, Davion Alves, Jeremy Nelson, and Don Reid in the hunt for their first win to keep pace with the leaders.

Former St George's College standout Alex Marshall will lead the youthful Cavalier unit from the front, with National Under-17 representative Kaheem Paris, Swayne Thomas, Ryan Miller, Nicholas Hamilton and Oshane Jenkins also expected to play prominent roles throughout the contest.

The other contest between Eastern Confederation champions Priory Soccer Academy from St Ann and the Western Confederation champions Sandals South Coast from Westmoreland is also expected to be a mouth-watering clash.

There is very little to separate the two clubs, who ended goalless when they last met, but with home court advantage and experience in their favour, Sandals South Coast might have the slight edge.

They are in second on five points with a slightly inferior goal difference to Cavalier, with Priory SA, formerly Volvo, hovering closely behind on four points. the results of today's contest could, to some extent, make or break the chances of either team's progression.

Aaron Lawrence, coach of Sandals South Coast, explained the significance of today's results.

“We just have to do what we have to do when they come here and win that game. The competition remains open for both teams, so once we do our job and win this game and try getting a point away, then we will be alright,” Lawrence told the Observer.

But Priory have proved that they can hold their own on a big stage following their crucial 1-0 win over Rivoli United on last, and they will be brimming with confidence of securing a second consecutive victory.

However, tactics and defensive solidity could prove the difference along with form, and both teams have vast potential but are still yet to display their best football. Fans can expect a tight match, from two clubs that have plenty to lose.

Romaine Bennett, Ron Daley, Junior Neil and Shemar Wright will carry the Sandals South Coast attack, while Dario Stewart, Mario Gordon, Carlos Barrett, Shimar Stewart and Aliem Campbell are expected to be point men in the Priory team.

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  Catherine Hall, Heights to clash for Senior League crown
Posted by: fbjnewsie - 17-06-2017, 12:05 PM - Forum: St. James - No Replies

Catherine Hall FC and Heights FC confirmed their places in the final of the St James Football Association Sandals International Senior League, in rescheduled games at the UDC Field on Thursday.

Heights FC came from behind to beat Seba FC 2-1 in the first game to advance 4-1 on aggregate after they had won the first game, last week 2-0, while Catherine Hall just edged Lilliput Rovers 4-3 on aggregate after they lost 1-2 subsequent to winning the first game 3-1.

The games were originally scheduled for Tuesday, but had to be postponed due to a waterlogged field.

The final will be decided tomorrow at Jarrett Park starting at 6:00pm, with the winners qualifying for next season's Western Confederation Super League.

Kemar Brown kept up his good scoring form, giving Heights FC the lead late in the game to grant his team a decisive margin.

Kevon Baugh scored for Seba FC in the 16th minute to cut Heights FC's advantage in half, and they held the lead in the game until the 85th minute when Brown re-established his team's two-goals-lead and then added a second in the 89th minute to kill off the game as a contest.

Jeremie Bucknor and Steven Bramwell scored for Lilliput Rovers but Kemar Reid's goal was enough for Catherine Hall to just get by and qualify for the final.

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  Cavalier 3 - 0 Priory SA
Posted by: fbjnewsie - 15-06-2017, 03:48 AM - Forum: National Premier League - No Replies

A brace by Swayne Thomas has placed former Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) outfit Cavalier SC in pole position in the race for promotion to the nation's top-flight competition following a 3-0 beating of Priory SA in the JFF Magnum/Charley's JB Overproof Rum Premier League play-offs.

Thomas opened and closed the scoring in the 13th and 84th minutes, with substitute Ryan Miller (81st) getting the other in front of a moderate crowd at the Stadium East field yesterday.

The win placed the Corporate Area champions on four points, like Western Confederation champions Sandals South Coast, but with a slightly better goal difference.

Sandals South Coast got by South Central winners Rivoli United 2-1, courtesy of goals from Ron Daley (11th) and Junior Neil (58th), while Codean Smikle (20th) was the scorer for the losing team in the other encounter at Cros Lawn in Westmoreland.

Both Cavalier and Sandals South Coast are now set to square off in a top-of-the-table clash in Sunday's third set of games, while Rivoli United and Eastern Confederation champions Priory Soccer Academy from St Ann will meet in the other contest.

Unlike what they did on Sunday, Cavalier SC were slow out the blocks, as Priory SA looked very purposeful in the early exchanges and briefly worried their opponents' backline, but failed in their bid to break the deadlock.

The hosts gradually increased the tempo shortly after and grabbed the ascendancy when Thomas picked up a pass from Nicholas Hamilton and slotted past custodian Donovan Hinds in goal for Priory SA.

The score would remain unchanged at the break, as Cavalier failed to capitalise on their dominance in the attacking third, while at the other end, Prior SA relied on speculative efforts.

However, the St Ann-based team, formerly Volvo United, came alive on the resumption and applied consistent pressure, which saw them breaching Cavalier's defence on a number of occasions, but were denied by faulty shooting.

On the hour mark, Cavalier gradually broke free, but they too lacked composure in the final third.

It was not until the latter stages of the contest with the introduction of National Under-17 representative Kaheem Paris, as well as Ryan Miller, that they finally extended their lead with the Priory team seemingly running on fumes.

Miller was on hand to head home from close range, after goalkeeper Hinds failed to cleanly handle a cross from former St George's College stalwart Alex Marshall.

Priory responded with a last-ditch effort a minute later, but custodian Jeadine White, who was also a part of the National Under-17 set-up, threw himself to the left to parry a right-footed effort from substitute Romain Walsh.

Thomas returned to put the icing on the cake when he picked up a pass from Paris, before dismissing the hapless Hinds and rifling his shot into the top of the net.

Though pleased with the three points, Cavalier's Head Coach Rudolph Speid expressed disappointment with the overall display and demeanour of the team.

“Well, first of all, we are pleased for the victory because the three points are what matters most, but I wasn't satisfied with the game. We were selfish in front of goal; we tried to score when we could have passed the ball and of course in a tight game it could be the only chance, so I'm not pleased about that,” he told journalists in a post-game interview.

His counterpart Courtney Dodd felt his team failed to show when it really mattered most.

“We played poorly today (yesterday); we didn't mark well and we didn't play well on a whole. We lacked concentration and fight was missing today. So we just have to rebound and come back for maximum points in the next game,” he lamented.

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  Captain is Dead. Long Live the Captain!
Posted by: fbjnewsie - 07-06-2017, 02:46 AM - Forum: General - No Replies

Shock and grief descended upon the Jamaican sporting fraternity yesterday, as news of the passing of Captain Horace Burrell, perennial president of the Jamaica Football Association (JFF), hit the world.

Absent from the local scene for a prolonged period, Burrell, 67, died in Baltimore, Maryland in the United States (US), after suffering from cancer for the past year and having to undergo treatment at the Johns Hopkins Cancer Treatment Center, also in Maryland.

Renowned for his robust leadership qualities, the football chief served as a Captain in the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF).

He would later be tasked with looking after the JDF football team by Colonel Ken Barnes, the father of English international footballer John Barnes.

Burrell’s journey with the JDF team saw him crossing paths with Jack Warner, Trinidad politician and former football executive who subsequently offered him an executive position at the Caribbean Football Union (CFU).

Following a stint at the Kingston and St Andrew Football Association (KSAFA), Burrell staged a successful bid for the presidency of the JFF in 1994.

The captain would then try his hand at business, having founded The Captain’s Bakery and Grill in 1995 and later Captain’s Aviation Services in 2008.

CROWNING ACHIEVEMENT

Most would voice that Burrell’s crowning achievement came in 1997, when the Jamaica National Football team secured qualification to the 1998 FIFA World Cup Finals in France, marking the first time an English-speaking Caribbean country qualified for the world's most prestigious event.

For his outstanding service to football, in 1998 he was bestowed with the Order of Distinction (Commander Class) by the Jamaican Government and the Order of Merit from the world football governing body, FIFA.

Burrell also held the offices of Senior Vice President of CONCACAF and Vice President of the CFU. He served as a member of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee and a Vice President of the Jamaica Olympic Association.

In October 2011, the FIFA Ethics Committee imposed a six-month ban on Burrell, having implicated him in the Caribbean Football Union corruption scandal.
 
The Committee later suspended three months of the ban, subject to a probationary period of two years.

“May his soul rest in peace. That’s all I can say right now and of course, I hope his family is quickly able to recover from his demise,” Jack Warner told The Gleaner.  

Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange expressed shock and sadness at the passing.

“Football in Jamaica has lost a cornerstone,” said Grange, whilst conveying her sympathy to family, friends and the executive of the JFF.

Social media also went into a tailspin, with tributes pouring in from across the globe.

Captain Horace Burrell is survived by his children, daughter, Dr. Tiphani Burrell-Piggott and sons Romario and Jaeden.


After being elected to office in 1994, Burrell was instrumental in leading the Reggae Boyz to the 1998 World Cup in France, making Jamaica the first English-speaking Caribbean country to qualify for the FIFA World Cup.

He received Jamaica’s fourth highest national honour, the Commander of the Order of Distinction (CD) in 1998. He also received the highest award, Order of Merit, from the world football governing body, FIFA, in 2000 for his outstanding leadership skills in piloting the Jamaica Football team to the World Cup. A number of countries were said to have adopted the Jamaican model of development in their quest for World Cup Final qualification due to their success.

FIFA banned senior Caribbean official Horace Burrell for six months on Friday for the Jamaican's part in a bribery case involving former FIFA presidential candidate Mohamed bin Hammam, plunging the region's soccer authorities deeper into chaos.

Burrell, a long-time ally of former FIFA vice president Jack Warner and a member of FIFA's disciplinary committee, must now withdraw from the Caribbean Football Union presidential election scheduled for next month.

Since the bribery scandal broke in May, the CONCACAF continental body has seen its top three elected Caribbean officials -- Warner, Burrell and Lisle Austin -- either resign while under investigation or be banned by FIFA.

FIFA's ethics committee ruled three months of the Jamaican federation president's ban will be deferred for a probationary period of two years.

Burrell said in a statement that Friday's actions "are harsh and painful for me personally, but I will not appeal the decision, considering the relative levity of the sanction and the cause for which it was handed down."

He said it will be up to the JFF to decide his future with the national body -- whether to replace him temporarily for the length of the ban or permanently -- but he still saw a future for himself within FIFA.

"I have no reason to doubt that I shall be readmitted to my present FIFA functions after the three-months suspension has been served," Burrell said.

Three other Caribbean officials also received bans.

Franka Pickering, president of the British Virgin Islands federation and one of the most senior women in world soccer, was suspended for 18 months.

FIFA issued 30-day bans to Osiris Guzman, president of the Dominican Republic soccer federation, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines general secretary Ian Hypolite. Fifteen days of their sanctions were deferred for six months.

The ethics panel met for three days this week to weigh evidence of CFU members allegedly accepting $40,000 cash payments from bin Hammam in May.

The Qatari official made a campaign visit to Trinidad, the home island of then-CFU leader Warner, to woo voters during his challenge to FIFA President Sepp Blatter. Bin Hammam was banned for life by FIFA in July.

Burrell was favored to win a four-candidate poll in Jamaica on Nov. 20 to succeed Warner as CFU leader. Burrell's bid was ultimately ended by his own voters.

Former Jamaica Prime Minister Edward Seaga, who is president of his country's Premier League Clubs Association, said he regretted the sanctions against Burrell.

"(He) has given great service to Jamaican football," Seaga said. "But we must also be happy that FIFA is taking steps to clean the nest of corruption in Caribbean football."

Whistleblowers from four Caribbean countries sparked the probe by telling CONCACAF's American general secretary Chuck Blazer that brown envelopes stuffed with $100 bills were being offered in a Port of Spain hotel.

Blazer's alert to FIFA led the body to hire former FBI director Louis Freeh's investigation agency to interview Caribbean officials and gather evidence for the ethics panel.

FIFA's ethics panel reprimanded three other officials on Friday: St. Kitts and Nevis soccer president Anthony Johnson, U.S. Virgin Islands president Hillaren Frederick and Aubrey Liburd, vice president of the British Virgin Islands soccer body.

Five others received warnings, including FIFA committee members Yves Jean-Bart, the Haiti soccer president, and Richard Groden, Trinidad and Tobago's general secretary.

Former international referee Mark Bob Forde was also warned, along with his fellow Barbados official David Hinds and Burrell's federation general secretary Horace Reid.

FIFA said it dropped cases against David Fredericks of the Cayman Islands and Joseph Delves of St. Vincent and the Grenadines because they had left the sport.

"Should they return to football official positions, their cases would be examined again by the ethics committee," FIFA said in a statement.

FIFA did not give the officials the same "presumption of innocence" it accorded Warner in June when the 28-year executive committee veteran resigned rather than face sanctions.

FIFA banned Barbados official Austin for one year after he used a civil court in the Bahamas to pursue his bid, as interim president of CONCACAF, to fire Blazer in what was seen as act of revenge on Warner's behalf.

Also Friday, FIFA said a hearing into the case of Guyana official Noel Adonis was postponed and a case left open into the conduct of St. Lucia official Patrick Mathurin.

FIFA cleared Felix Ledesma of the Dominican Republic of committing any violation.

After the scandal emerged, bin Hammam withdrew his election bid three days before the FIFA vote in June. He denies bribery and is appealing his life ban at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Blatter ran unopposed and won a fourth four-year presidential term. He was endorsed by 186 FIFA members, including most Caribbean islands.

FIFA's executive committee meets next week for the time since the election, and probably will do so without a Caribbean delegate because the process of replacing Warner was stalled by Austin's legal action.

KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) _ Attackers shot and killed the son of Horace Burrell, president of Jamaica's Football Federation, police said Tuesday.

Tahj Burrell, 20, and a friend, Jason Byles, were shot as they were entering a Kingston pizza restaurant Sunday night, Sgt. Victor Henry said.

Byles returned fire with his own gun before being killed. Burrell was pronounced dead at University Hospital, Henry said.

A motive for the slayings was under investigation. There were no immediate arrests.

1. Born February, 8, 1950 in May Pen, Clarendon

2. Received Jamaica’s fourth highest national honour, the Commander of the Order of Distinction (CD) in 1998.

4. Received the highest award, Order of Merit, from the world football governing body, FIFA.

5. Founder, the Captain’s Bakery and Grill in 1995 and Captain’s Aviation Services in 2008.

6. Served as President of the Jamaica Football Federation between 1994 and 2003, and from 2007 until today.

7. Was the chief architect for Jamaica’s historic qualification to the FIFA World Cup in France 1998.

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8. Was the Senior Vice President of CONCACAF and a former Vice President of the CFU.

9. Served as a member of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee and a Vice President of the Jamaica Olympic Association.

10. Under his leadership, Jamaica also qualified for three FIFA youth World Cup tournaments: Under 17 New Zealand 1999, Under 20 Argentina 2001 and Under 17 Mexico 2011.

A short Biography
by: Desmond Allen & John Maxwell
March, 2004

The decades of the 80s and 90s in Jamaica were, for all practical purposes, lost decades. The bitter ideological conflict which marked the 70s and the national movement it fermented, had given way to the rule of every man for himself and preoccupation with the need to survive the harsh economic climate. Jamaicans were reluctant even to stand for the National Anthem, and the black, green and gold flag, which should symbolise the cherished ideals of a proud nation, was hardly worth the cloth on which it was draped.

Indiscipline was rampant and productivity in the doldrums. At one stage, and in utter frustration, Prime Minister Edward Seaga was moved to chastise the business community, describing them as "producers of words and manufacturers of excuses". A change of government to the charismatic Michael Manley did not bring about any significant change in social mores. Truly, it seemed, Jamaica had lost its very soul. But in the midst of the despair, there was one man who had a vision. He had been a soldier in the Jamaica Defence Force and he was a man who could dream.

Years before that, Lieutenant Horace Garfield Burrell had seen a newspaper headline which shouted: "Boys' Town drill soldiers". It was a cute headline but it had cut to the core of Burrell's being. The soldiers, some of whom were under his command, were being humiliated before the nation. He took control of the football squad and guided them to victory and the premier league trophy, symbol of football supremacy in Jamaica. It had never happened before and has never happened since. But it foretold an unlikely event that would set Jamaican football on a path to unimagined glory.

As the 90s were drawing to a close, Burrell would look at Jamaican football and dream that it could reach the top. In the age of the Inquisition, he would have been burnt at the stake for uttering such a madness and audacity. When you think of it, Jamaica had no business going to the World Cup, given the impossible state of the country's football infrastructure. But it was a dream that would set a country ablaze with goose-pimpling pride and re-ignite the dying embers of nationalism, gushing over like a flood into the far reaches of the Jamaican Diaspora.

One man's dream became the vision of a nation. And in 1998, Jamaica, mere minnows, ran onto the World Cup football field in Paris with giants the likes of Argentina; beat the team from the world's second most powerful economy, Japan; and placed ahead of the world's only superpower, the USA, at the pinnacle of global soccer.


How then could anyone tell that in a matter of a few years, this same man - who had received a national admiration reserved for heroes, won his country's fifth highest honour, the Commander of the Order of Distinction and gained football's greatest accolade, the Order of Merit from soccer's governing body, FIFA - would suffer so undignified a defeat among people who had basked in the glory born of his vision and determination?

They say of Burrell that he is a tough and unyielding negotiator, a man endowed with a sizeable helping of Jamaican braggadocio and that as soccer glory crowned the island, his stride became bigger than football itself. But even Burrell's fiercest critics admit it is unlikely any of it would have happened at all without his iron determination, steely focus and supreme self-confidence.


Those self-same reserves of strength and resolve would have to serve him only a couple years later when Burrell's true mettle and character would be tested way beyond a football federation election defeat. As two hapless murderers snuffed out the life of his first son, Taj, with whom he shared a rare father-son relationship - "We were best friends" - Burrell would feel his world collapse around him. And he would not understand how anyone could harm one hair on the head of the son of a man who had only a couple of years before released such orgasmic joy in an emotionally starving nation. The intriguing story of Horace Burrell is one for the annals of Jamaican history. We'll begin in May Pen, the Clarendon capital where he was born, the third son of a land baron.

Farm stories and simple people
On February 8, 1950, Edward and Linda Burrell were probably hoping for a girl after having had two sons - Edward Maurice and Carlton Lloyd. After all, how could they know that this new baby would bring the family such fame and ensure the name Burrell a special place in their country's history? Whatever might have been their preference, they lovingly welcomed the new bundle of joy and named him Horace Garfield.


Even by today's standards, Edward Burrell was one of Jamaica's biggest farmers, and certainly was the biggest tobacco grower in Clarendon. He was head of a family property, Oaks estate, inherited from his father, Joseph Burrell and which bordered four townships stretching from Lucky Valley to Coxwain to Suttons and on to Rock River. The land was fertile in sugar cane, citrus and tobacco, and cattle grazed for several hundred acres. Many subsistence farmers tilled the land, growing cash crops. In the riverbed which ran across the property, sand-mining was a major activity.

Young Horace grew up as a farm boy. He spent time between the farm and a house in May Pen that his father acquired for breaks away from the farm. There were many happy and exciting days with his brothers and a cousin, Weldon 'Pat' Maddix, who grew up with the family. They watched the farmers at work and heard their amusing, sometimes sad stories of life. Burrell learnt to appreciate their simple life and their generous disposition.


He recalls that his mother was always there to care for the children. She had taught for a short time after passing the 3rd Jamaica Local exam, but gave that up to become a tower of strength to her husband as he managed so large an enterprise. Curiously, the Burrell children did not call their parents "mommy" or "daddy". They called them "mother" and "father". So did the rest of the community. They were strict parents and moral values were central to their existence. Church was "every Sunday" at St Gabriel's Anglican, May Pen.

Omar Davies, Bobby Pickersgill et al
At age 11, Burrell passed the Common Entrance Exam and went to Clarendon College under principal C L "Pops" Stuart and later John MacMillan. His brother Carlton was at the newly-created Glenmuir High with one Omar Davies, a finance minister-in-the-making and "whom I got to know from he was in short pants", Burrell muses. Maurice, his other brother, had been sent to school in England, where they had many close relatives. At Clarendon College, Burrell was a 'little boy' to big boys like Robert Pickersgill, now minister of transport and works, his brother Tony Pickersgill and the girl, Fay, whom Tony would marry after many years of 'rent-a-tile' dancing. Among Burrell's other peers were: Gladstone Bonnick; Raymond Wright; Norton Hinds; and Glenroy Miller.

Burrell was involved in almost every extra-curricular activity at school, especially enjoying football (he made the school's Under-14 team for the Galloway Cup), cricket, camera club and the debating society. But there was nothing to him like the cadet force. So engrossed was he that he soon began to ignore the other activities to concentrate on the cadets, loving to teach the younger boys map reading, rifle shooting and other disciplines.

He attained the rank of drum major in the cadet force at school, something he had day-dreamed about from younger days when he saw the drum corps leading the school's annual Founder's Day parade from Rose Bank through the town of Chapleton and fancied himself at the head of it. He was selected two years in a row by the Jamaica Combined Cadet Force to represent Jamaica in cadet exchanges with Canada and Trinidad and Tobago. To anyone looking on, it wasn't hard to see that Burrell had already found his calling in life. He would one day be a soldier.


"From those early days I had a strong sense of discipline. I believed in being disciplined, tough and daring. I was a very adventurous person," he reflects. But after 'A' Levels, Burrell wasn't immediately clear on what he would do with his life.

As fate would have it, he went to hang out for a while with his brother, Carlton, who by now was working as an engineer at the Revere and Alpart bauxite-alumina plants. There he met Carlton's engineer and school-master friends, including Ryland Campbell, the current chairman of Capital and Credit Merchant Bank and who was teaching at St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS). Campbell told him he seemed to be a fine young man and would probably do well at teaching. The STETHS principal, John Pottinger, was looking for someone to teach Biology and Agricultural Science.

Burrell had done both at Clarendon College and liked the idea. But he was totally bowled over when Pottinger, at the end of the interview, told him he was hired immediately! "I was dumbstruck, excited and scared all at once because most of the boys there were about my age," he says. But everything fell into place, once he had started. One of his outstanding students, he recalls, was Garfield Myers, the current sports editor at the Observer newspaper.

They murdered my boy
STETHS would be memorable too for the fact that he met Lourea Simpson and was immediately smitten. She was a student then, but about five or six years after school, the relationship blossomed into a raging love affair. He married her in 1976 and the union produced a daughter, Tiffany, who is doing her PhD at Yale, after her Masters at Howard University; and a son, the late Taj Burrell, whose death exposed the soft inner core under the seemingly tough exterior of his outstanding father.

Taj had gone to live with his dad after the marriage ended in divorce. They had the kind of father-son relationship that most boys only dream of. "He was my little brother, my best friend and so his brutal murder was devastating," says Burrell, his face a mask of grief. "But closure is just now coming since his two murderers have been convicted and sentenced to death."

These days, Burrell has transferred all the love to Romario, his gifted eight year-old second son. He was named after the Brazilian football whiz who has given him his shirt and played host to him at dinner. Recently, Romario led his school science team to victory in a competition and has been called on to read for his Roman Catholic Church congregation. The proud father forgets this is his interview! "I love him dearly," he confesses.
A soldier's training

But before Burrell had left STETHS, he was inching ever closer to a career in the defence force. He had been placed in charge of the school's cadet squad at the rank of second lieutenant. At this point, he had no doubt that he wanted to be in the military, and the passion was growing. Sure enough, he applied to the JDF and enthusiastically took on the physical endurance, leadership appreciation and mental ability tests, carried out over three days under very discouraging conditions.

In the end, he was one of only three persons selected from the 48 candidates in his batch, to be trained overseas as commissioned officers. The other two were Dunstan Thompson, a nephew of Dudley Thompson and Stacy Thompson (not related), a past student of Wolmer's Boys. "I felt very fortunate to have succeeded and I grabbed the opportunity with both hands," Burrell recounts.

He was sent to do basic officer training with the Canadian Armed Forces at Chilliwac in the vast hills of British Columbia. Later he went to New Brunswick for combat training. He remembers a particular assignment when his squad of 10 was dropped off by helicopter in the middle of a snow-covered forest and told to find a point more than 100 miles from base.

They were given compasses, a backpack with small tins of high-protein ration, enough to last for five days, and told to survive anyhow they could. Says Burrell: "After the first two days in that cold, dark forest, I felt as if I was never going to live to return to sunny Jamaica."

They made it in four days. But they were a sorry sight to see with their blistered hands, swollen feet, cracked lips, and completely fatigued. Shortly after their arrival, a helicopter came with live chickens, one for each trainee. They were given fuel tablets and told to kill and cook the chickens in their mess tins. It was half-cooked when Burrell began to devour his.

"But it was the nicest piece of meat I had ever had," he says, recalling the unbelievable hunger pangs that shook their exhausted bodies as they fought their way through the thick growth of the forest interred in snow. "That is how I know human beings don't die so easily," Burrell chuckles in retrospect. He'd also learn to appreciate more the Jamaican sun every morning he wakes up.

Back at base, at Gage Town, "we were so fit and charged up that we closed down every discotheque in the town that weekend".

Operation Urgent Fury
In Jamaica once more, army life would seem like a cakewalk now. Speaking of which, while he was still in the army, Burrell and his wife had started a business, baking and selling cakes and other pastry from home.

They called the business 'Cake World'. This happened while he was stationed at the Newcastle base and in charge of training, at the rank of second lieutenant. There, Burrell tried out everything he had learnt in Canada. His favourite punishment was to have errant recruits roll the entire length of the parade square on the hot asphalt. He also liked to put them in a tear gas chamber and order them to take off their mask briefly and say their names. After a few times, every man became circumspect. His challenge was to transform recruits from civilians into soldiers in a matter of 10 to 12 weeks. Failure was not an option.

Burrell saw service in Grenada when the US launched "Operation Urgent Fury" in 1983, at the height of a coup d'etat against Prime Minister Maurice Bishop by hardline Maxist-Leninist members of his New Jewel Movement. The charismatic Bishop and some of his Cabinet ministers were assassinated and, with the neighbouring eastern Caribbean states in a flat panic, Dominican prime minister, Dame Eugenia Charles, telephoned US president, Ronald Reagan, asking for urgent help.

The Jamaican troops, about 100 or so at a time, went there to do mopping up operations, under the supervision of Colonel Ken Barnes, father of John Barnes, the first Jamaican to play for the English national football team. Burrell admires Colonel Barnes as "a great military leader". The Jamaicans did not see actual combat, but two were injured when an explosive went off by accident, he recalls. At the end, Burrell received the General Service Medal for service in Grenada.

'Boys' Town drill soldiers'
It transpired that Colonel Barnes was the man in charge of sports at the JDF when Burrell saw a humiliating headline in a newspaper, blaring out: "Boys' Town drill soldiers". Burrell was embarrassed. and livid. He went to Barnes and showed him the story, telling him that this was too shameful to be tolerated.

Barnes put him in charge of football, and Burrell got to work immediately. He recruited a coach, a civilian named Raymond Beek, and together they wrote a plan emphasising serious training. There were some who felt the whole thing was foolishness because winning the premier league trophy was way out of the reach of the soldiers. Burrell didn't bother to listen.

Within three years, the JDF football club were premier league champions and three of his players - Michael Tulloch, Eric Curry and Wayne Wonder - had made the Jamaican national team. The feat has not yet been repeated. But more importantly, Burrell had taken the first steps on a journey that, even he could not have known at the time, would blaze a historic trail of glory for his small island country.

History, often without explanation, reaches across time to touch the lives of a relatively small band of people, and endows them with a greatness beyond the sum of their individuality. Thereafter, they relentlessly follow a course that, at an appointed time, fires the imagination of entire nations and men call them great. Horace Garfield Burrell is among that cosmic elite. As if seeing what was to come, the Rotary Club had awarded him their highest honour, the Paul Harris Fellowship.

But Burrell had not seen the future quite as clearly. He had chosen to be a soldier by vocation, not knowing that his most torrid battles would be fought on the football field. For even as he dreamt of becoming a general in the Jamaican army, the god of football had appointed him as the man to unleash perhaps the single greatest outpouring of joy that the island had known up to that point in its history.

The final of the World Cup of football is reserved for giants, not dwarfs. Where does Burrell get off, dreaming that he could take this little David to do battle with the Goliaths of world soccer?

Yet, things that seemed to happen routinely in Burrell's life were often not routine at all. For example, on one occasion, he took the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) football team to Trinidad and Tobago. There he met the general secretary of the T&T Football Association, Austin 'Jack' Warner. Warner impressed him with "his vast experience and knowledge of football".

Burrell decided from then that he would keep in contact with Warner, who, over the years, was able "to provide me with his insight and to come up with smart solutions for tough problems". Just before the Captain left the JDF, Warner invited him to become a member of the executive of the 30-nation Caribbean Football Union (CFU). The relationship had been cemented.

The Captain's Bakery
This was 1985. Cake World by this time had outgrown its cottage industry status and was doing extremely well. Burrell had to make a decision. For the business to reach its full potential, he would have to put more time into it. He left the army and threw himself into the business of making dough, with his wife.

"It grew phenomenally and we established stores in Kingston, Spanish Town and May Pen," he reveals. But as the business soared, his marriage nose-dived. It came to a point that he and the woman he had loved, virtually from childhood, decided to split. She retained the company name and he used his assets to start The Captain's Bakery.

His first store was in downtown Kingston where he would stay with the staff, keeping the store open until midnight and interacting with them and the community. He makes special note of the fact that he was dealing with some of the "most loving, humble and honest people downtown".

The Captain's Bakery has since expanded to five other branches - in Cross Roads, New Kingston, May Pen, Montego Bay and Grand Cayman. Ground has just been broken for the establishment of a seventh state-of-the-art megastore in Portmore. In total, the business employs about 200 persons and Burrell thinks it is significant that nearly all the staff in Cayman, 15 in all and most from Jamaica, now drive their own cars.

Road to France
The year 1994 will reverberate in Jamaican history. It was the year that Burrell was elected president of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF). That was preceded by many years in the administration of the Kingston and St Andrew Football Association (KSAFA), which he says had carried more clout than the JFF, under the "brilliant leadership" of people like Russell Bell and Billy Marston.

With obvious gratitude, Burrell recalls: "I learnt a great deal about the administration of football from serving with them during those years. In fact, all the powerhouses in the JFF had been drawn from KSAFA."

At the time, Burrell was still in the JDF, and in charge of football there. At the back of his mind, that cruel headline "Boys' Town drill soldiers" was playing wickedly. But he had taken the army's team to the top. Could he not do the same with Jamaica? Burrell did a two-year stint as JFF treasurer, on his way to the presidency. By the time 1994 had come around, this trained pilot had made up his mind about the dizzying heights to which he wanted to take Jamaican football.

"My interest in football grew while I was a member of the CFU, and being convinced about the ability of football to influence tremendous social changes in society. On that basis, I decided to offer myself for leadership of the JFF. I believed that Jamaica had an array of football talent and I knew that we could go places," he discloses. 'Places' meant the finals of the World Cup in France. By any reckoning, it was now clear. The appointed time had come.


Burrell's bid for the presidency was successful and he set about immediately to revamp Jamaican football. At that time, Jamaicans seemed satisfied with cheering for a World Cup team like Brazil, Argentina, Germany, Italy and the like. He vowed quietly that one day he would make them cheer for Jamaica. He crafted a plan and articulated a vision that he took to the country's private sector leaders, Government, Opposition and other influential groups.

He recalls how he had worked with Lincoln Robinson, a communications consultant, to put together a powerpoint presentation, with graphics and all, for a group of businessmen at the Sheraton Hotel, now the Hilton Kingston. Then he announced that the four-year budget was $104 million:

"They laughed so hard, you'd think a pantomime was going on. Some people were even ready at that point to leave the room, saying I was living in another world and they had wasted their time in coming. They were asking how could football ever expect to fund a budget of $104 million. Some thought it was more feasible to adopt a team."

But Burrell locked onto his vision all the more. He would not be diverted from the Road to France. "I believed in my people and I was prepared to go to the mountain top to achieve the vision," he recounts. He admits, however, that it was hard to find people who shared the belief that Jamaica could qualify for the World Cup finals. But he was confident that there was one man who would believe and, if he did, it would make all the difference. He would go to see him.

P J Patterson 'fly the gate'
Burrell's stout heart was beating faster than usual as he drove into the Jamaica House driveway. So much was riding on this meeting. Once inside, he calmed himself and prepared to meet the prime minister. Patterson was pleasant but appeared businesslike so Burrell got to the point. He told the prime minister he would need a Brazilian coach to take the football where it had never gone before.

No country had produced more football wizardry than this South American giant. He would need the PM's help to get such a coach. Patterson, as he is wont to do, listened without interruption and made notes, peering over his glasses all the time at this daring man. He thought to himself that this one was a tall order and the plan was overly ambitious. But Burrell seemed confident that it could be achieved.

Right at that time, Patterson had been thinking seriously about the moral values and attitude of the nation and he seemed to be reasoning to himself that if this visionary soldier could pull it off, it would put the nation in a mood to believe in itself. "I'll help," he told Burrell after much thought. Finally! The breakthrough had come. Burrell left Jamaica House with a spring in his step and a song in his heart.

Professor Rene Simoes of Brazil
Armed with a letter from Patterson to the Brazilian president, and accompanied by the knowledgeable footballer and youth coach, David Haughton, Burrell arrived in Brazil. Patterson's diplomatic people had firmed up arrangements ahead of time and he met soon after with the sports minister and other officials. They set up interviews with about six top coaches.

The one that impressed them most was Professor Rene Simoes and he was offered the job. Before he accepted, Simoes said he would have to visit Jamaica to see what the facilities were like. "When he saw the football fields, he said it would be impossible for him to take the job," Burrell recalls.

"Then we took him to a football match at Constant Spring and he was very impressed with the talent he saw. After we pressed him some more, he reasoned that it would be a challenge but if he could make a World Cup team out of what he had seen - something out of nothing really - it would be good for his CV and his own notoriety would spread." Simoes went back to Brazil, consulted with his family, won their support and returned to Jamaica to set the island firmly on the Road to France.

The Brazilian immediately put a structure in place, appointing a staff for the senior team, one for the Under-20s and one for the Under-17s, all of whom would qualify for their world finals. Wanting to involve as many of the local coaches as possible, Burrell says, he invited Carl Brown, who "pledged his support and gave it his best shot". The sports media liked Carl Brown and would worry a lot about how he was allegedly being treated as time went by.

Influx of England-born players
When the World Cup qualifiers began, it struck Burrell and the team that the locally-based players had gone as far as they could go and were facing elimination. By a master stroke, they brought in three Jamaican-born English football club players - Deon Burton, Paul Hall and Fitzroy Simpson. But they had a hard time getting more.

There were many other Jamaicans playing for English clubs and most had hopes of playing for the English national team. That might explain why they were reluctant to sign on to the Jamaican team. Then Burrell got an idea. "Robbie Earle was one of the most respected black players in England. If I could get him to sign up, the others might come. He was an inspirational player and would be just what the doctor ordered for the team," Burrell argued at the time. Earle, too, was hesitant and so he invited him and his family to Jamaica. With the help of Sandals, through Horace Peterkin, and SuperClubs, through Dr Errol Holmes, the JFF wined and dined the Earle family, "showing them a time they themselves admitted they had never seen before".

At the end of his five-day stay, Earle signed on the dotted line. And as Burrell had anticipated, it was easy to get other British-based players after that. The stage was now set.

The Reggae Boyz of Jamaica
This was 1996. As the Jamaican national team edged closer to qualification, a dreadful tragedy befell the high-riding Zambian football team in Africa. The plane in which they were travelling crashed, killing all members of the team. No one, of course, could be expected to make a connection between the terrible mishap and Jamaica's football.

But as Zambia mourned the loss of its talented sons, Burrell thought of a way to help soothe the pain and to pay Jamaican respects. He would take the Jamaican team to Zambia. Churchill Neita, who was chairman of INSPORT at the time, made the contact.

Expecting to arrive under a pall of gloom, the footballers and officials, led by Burrell, were met at the airport by a tumultuous crowd of Zambians chanting: "Welcome to the Reggae Boyz of Jamaica! Welcome to the Reggae Boyz of Jamaica!"

Burrell seized the moment. "From henceforth, the Jamaican national football team will be called the Reggae Boyz," he proclaimed in his speech acknowledging the warm reception the Jamaicans had received in a land from which their forebears had come. The name fit like a glove. It was sheer African genius at work. And with the blessings of the motherland, the Reggae Boyz returned to Jamaica, looking steadfastly towards France '98.

We're going to France
On November 17, 1997, Jamaica and Mexico met at 'The Office' - Jamaica's National Stadium. All Jamaica needed was a draw for the unthinkable to happen. A golden sun greeted the expectant Sunday morning. All day long Jamaicans could scarcely sit still. Motorists whizzed up and down the streets of the capital, honking their horns, their headlights flashing. The flag was flying on every handcart. Police blotters remained blank as criminals stayed home.

The stadium was transformed into a virtual sea of gold. By the time the Reggae Boyz took to the field, emotions had reached heart-stopping crescendo and the stadium could not contain it. The game ended 0-0 and Jamaica was in the finals of France '98. Oh sweet pandemonium! It was joy unspeakable! The roar that erupted from the stadium and every nook and cranny of Jamaica echoed in Brixton; Brooklyn; the Bronx; Toronto; Lagos, Nigeria; in the back streets of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, everywhere that any Jamaican found abode on the planet.

Burrell's dream had become reality! Sensing that this was a moment like no other, and remembering how he had kept faith with one determined Jamaican who had a vision, Patterson declared the following day, Monday, a national holiday to mark the attainment of this miracle.

"November 17 will remain one of my most memorable days," says Burrell now. "I will take the joy of this dream come true to the end of my days."
In the months before June 1998, Burrell, Simoes and the Reggae Boyz were the toast of the country. Reggae Boyz memorabilia appeared everywhere, as if out of nowhere. Everybody was lining up to offer support.

He singles out Sports Minister Portia Simpson Miller as a tower of strength from day one, travelling with the team and suffering with them, as in the case of El Salvador where she, along with the 10 Jamaican faithfuls, was "wet up with water and beer" by the fans there. He also recalls one night when a sticky problem came up and the Reggae Boyz were due to fly out the next day. Simpson Miller opened her door at midnight to meet with him, Simoes and JFF general secretary Horace Reid, another pillar of strength which the team could lean on. Reid, Burrell says, was the epitome of loyalty and commitment and had supported him through all aspects of his elevation. Burrell also pointed to the opposition leader, Edward Seaga, "who was second only to Mrs Simpson Miller in his support. and he never missed a home match".

The qualification for France snowballed, and Jamaicans overseas walked tall. In France, Jamaica was, sentimentally, everybody's number two team. It was a kind of football rags-to-riches story and the world loved this modern-day fairy tale. Jamaicans from all walks of life converged on the French towns where Jamaica played three matches before being eliminated. They reported that everywhere they went in France, ordinary people sought their autographs and island memorabilia, it was enough just to be a Jamaican.

Vendors sold all sorts of Jamaican trinkets and art and craft in the Metro (subway) stations. The spirit was high and reggae ruled France. Douglas Orane, the Grace, Kennedy chairman, was seen handing out special phone cards and encouraging people to call home with the result of the first match. Jamaica's first World Cup goal was scored by Robbie Earle! In the end, Jamaica was beaten 3-1 by Croatia, five-nil by Argentina but beat Japan 2-1, placing ahead of even the United States which came last in the 32-nation tournament.

Tea with The Queen, dinner with Nelson Mandela
A few months later, Burrell would have another crowning moment when he and a small group from Jamaica were invited to tea with The Queen of England at Buckingham Palace. She had wanted to meet with select members of the World Cup finalists from the Commonwealth. Burrell was astounded to find out in conversation with her, how much Queen Elizabeth II knew about Jamaica and Jamaicans.

Burrell recalls the conversation: "She said 'Oh what a fine fast bowler is Michael Holding. What did they call him again. the whispering death? It is good that Courtney Walsh has taken up where Michael left off.' Then she went on to say what a great athlete Merlene Ottey was. It was indeed a great moment for all of us there in the presence of The Queen at Buckingham Palace."

Some years later, Burrell would also experience another once-in-a-lifetime moment when he met and dined with the legendary South African hero, Nelson Mandela, at a function honouring Caribbean football in Trinidad and Tobago. Another Jamaican, Grace Silvera of Red Stripe, was also there, he notes. But how long could Burrell remain on cloud nine? Back in Jamaica, a jarring reality awaited.

A coup in the palace
As memories of the World Cup dalliance began to fade, the nation breathed again and went back about the business of everyday living. Simoes would return home with much of the shine rubbed off. A new Brazilian coach would come and go, summarily fired by Burrell after one too many losses by the team. And five years later, Burrell would face a palace coup within the JFF. This was 2003.

Men disgruntled with his style of leadership, but some of whom Burrell believes were motivated by petty jealousy, campaigned slyly - some say with hefty funds from undisclosed sources - eventually voting him out as president. It was a stinging defeat. Burrell had given total commitment to the dream, digging deep into his own pocket to put his money where his mouth was, willing to continue. and now this.

"But I took the results quietly and walked away in the interest of the continued development of Jamaica's football," he reveals. Yet, Jamaica's loss was the CFU's and CONCACAF's gain. Burrell has recently been placed at the head of the CFU's newly created marketing division, which has responsibility for all television and radio rights, all marketing arrangements and all sponsorship deals covering the 30 CFU countries.

Working with his team of Reid and Lola Chin Sang, he remains senior vice-president of the CFU. He is on the executive committee of CONCACAF, which governs football in North America, Central America and the Caribbean, making him, after Warner, the second most powerful man in football in the region. And he continues to serve on the disciplinary committee of FIFA's judicial body.

A place in history
If you didn't know it, you'd think Burrell is still the top man in football in Jamaica. It is his confident, self-assured presence that does it. He was there with the big guns of football in Paris last fortnight representing CONCACAF at FIFA's centenary celebrations. In football terms, he's a pauper who walks among princes. But you'd never know it.


There are countries in which, for lesser prizes, men have been made national heroes. From that single journey to the World Cup finals, interest in a growing number of Jamaican players is rising every day, especially in North America and the United Kingdom. And the spin-offs continue in tourism.

There is a newfound national self-belief that is already being taken for granted. Who will dispute it that this man, Horace Garfield Burrell, has given back his country its lost

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  BARITA MASTERS FOOTBALL AT DRAX HALL SUNDAY
Posted by: fbjnewsie - 04-06-2017, 08:42 PM - Forum: St. Ann - No Replies

The Fifth renewal of the Barita-sponsored Drax Hall Masters Invitational football competition is slated for the Drax Hall Sports Complex, St. Ann on Sunday, December 18.

Teams taking part include, Portland Masters, Los Perfectos, St.Ann Masters, Kingston Commissioners, Harbour View and Holders Tourers of Montego Bay.

Violet Tourers, the defending champions, will be boosted by former Premier League stalwarts, and National players such as Norman Foster, Hector Wright, Warren Barrett, and Theodore Whitmore. Matches are set to begin at 12 noon and end at 9pm.

Other stand out players taking part are: Byron Earle, Kevin O’Sang, Donald Stewart and Christopher Powell.

The competition is being title-sponsored by Barita‎ to the Tune of $100,000 along with associate sponsors, Clinicare Pharmacy, Smoke Marlin Restaurant, UG’s Cellular and Selbys Transport.

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  Oneil Thompson of Arnett Gardens Wants another Title
Posted by: fbjnewsie - 04-06-2017, 08:38 PM - Forum: National Premier League - No Replies

rnett Gardens captain, Oneil 'Bigga' Thompson is focusing on beating Portmore United in the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) final in order to lift his and the club's second title in three seasons.

Both teams will battle for the nation's top football title next Monday at the National Stadium in Kingston, starting at 8:30 p.m.

"This is our second final in the Premier League in three seasons and it is a great feeling to be back after winning in 2015," Thompson who is popularly called 'Bigga' told The Gleaner after his team's training session last Tuesday at the Anthony Spaulding Complex in Trench Town.

"Portmore are in our way, we know that they are a good team. We have to be organised as we were against Montego Bay United and Humble Lion," the 33 year-old central defender reasoned.

"We have played two strong teams in the quarter-final and semi-final and overcome them, so it will be difficult for any team to beat us," he warned Portmore.

"We are not trying to do anything different at this stage. We started the season without top players such as Renae Lloyd, Vishinul Harris and Keneil Hyde. Now, we are at full strength with all players available.

"The chemistry in midfield wasn't there but with the players back, we are ready for Portmore," added Thompson who transferred from Boys' Town in 2014 and who also represented Norwegian side Notodden FC player.

Arnett Gardens started the season well but fell off during the third and final preliminary rounds and eventually finished sixth in the regular season. Thompson shared that the team decided to focus on the playoff portion of the season after falling behind in the league race and believes the Junglists are peaking at the right time.

"We realised that winning the regular season trophy for the team that end with most points was out of our reach. Then, we paced ourselves and peaked at the right time," the Arnett captain shared.

Arnett Gardens won national league titles in 1977, 2001, 2002 and 2015. They are hunting their fifth title.

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Thumbs Up Dixon: This Portmore Team Can Get Better
Posted by: fbjnewsie - 04-06-2017, 08:31 PM - Forum: National Premier League - No Replies

Portmore United are into their second Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) final in two years, and although coach Linval Dixon does not see much difference in this team from the one that lost 2-1 to Montego Bay United in last season's finale, he insists that they have a lot of quality and more room to get even better.

"There is not much difference (from last season) because we have the same team, except with the inclusion of Jeremie Lynch, but there is nothing different," he insisted.

 

Not Lacking Quality
 

Dixon noted that the team did not lack quality and underlined that the players still had the desire to get better every day.

"This team has a lot of quality players. Sometimes it's difficult to pick the starting team based on the quality, but this team understands what it takes to perform and to win," said Dixon. "They always have the drive to win because it's a mentality we develop in training, and it keeps them going, and they only can grow from strength to strength."

"They know that for them to be on top, they have to improve day by day, and they don't want to settle to be good players. They want to be the best, so they push each other, and they respond well to work," Dixon stated.

Portmore will face an Arnett Gardens team which is in its second final in three seasons and Dixon said that his players were excited and anxious about the test that awaits them.

"They (players) were disappointed last season, but they have that drive and want to make it better this time around, so we don't want to leave it to chance," he said.

"They are excited and they are anxious to be back at the finals. Losing to Montego Bay United in the final and to be back here is really a good job from the players. But we haven't play the final as yet, so we still have to be grounded. We still have to be focused and be ready to play."

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  Whitmore Disappointed With Meeting No-Show
Posted by: fbjnewsie - 04-06-2017, 08:27 PM - Forum: National Premier League - No Replies

Reggae Boyz head coach Theodore Whitmore was left a bitterly disappointed man last week Thursday after a second proposed meeting between the technical staff of the senior football team and Premier League club coaches failed to materialise.

According to Whitmore, the first of two meetings aimed, among other things, at addressing some of the Premier League clubs' complaints and to try and build a stronger relationship between the national programme and top-tier clubs as it relates to player development, went well, noting that he had high expectations for the scheduled follow-up meeting.

Disappointed But Not Deterred
However, only Premier League coaches who are attached to the national programme showed for the second meeting. Although he is disappointed, Whitmore said that he is still interested in organising these forums in an effort to move local football forward.

"We tried to keep two meetings. One went well and was very successful. But only Andrew Price from Boys' Town; Jerome Waite, the assistant (senior team) coach representing Arnett Gardens; and Wendell Downswell from Reno, who were a part of the first meeting, returned for the second one.

"None of the Premier League coaches indicated that they would not be there, apart from Rod Underwood of MoBay United, who said that he wouldn't be available because of prior engagements and he would be leaving the island," Whitmore said.

"Over the years, we have heard Premier League clubs complaining, so what we are trying to do is build a relationship by bringing the programme to them and bring them up to date with what we intend to do from now to the Gold Cup.

"We want to get their input on the players that have been invited to camp and explain to them what we are looking for in a player and how they can help the players when we send these players back to their clubs. So any recommendations from them will be good for us. But that second meeting didn't happen," he said.

Whitmore believes that such meetings can only bring benefits for the nation's football programme and says that in the future, he will continue to try and organise such forums.

"This is the country's football, and anything for us to move forward as a nation, I am willing to work with it," Whitmore said.

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