The Hopes And Dreams Of Horace Burrell
A delegation from the Jamaican Football Association, including its President, Captain Horace Burrell and General Secretary, Horace Reid, were guests at the Home of FIFA in Zurich on 24 April 2008. They met FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter, FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke and other FIFA officials, and discussed a number of topics including the promotion and development of football in the Caribbean country. After the round of talks, Burrell took time out for an interview.
What exactly brings you to the Home of FIFA in Zurich?
Horace Burrell: We came here to meet President Blatter and the other FIFA officials, as we want to press ahead with the Goal project in our country. We need new training grounds in urban areas to improve our work with youngsters. We also want to further promote training courses at youth level and organise other courses such as administration and Corn-unity. This is why we came to FIFA, to speed up the necessary developments. We are very grateful that we had the opportunity today to exchange ideas, and I am totally confident that we will take a great step forward with the support of FIFA.
How do things stand regarding the development of football in Jamaica?
Burrell: In recent years, Jamaica has done a great deal for youth development, but our infrastructure is unfortunately lacking, which means that we cannot realise our full potential in this domain. This is why the Goal project and the courses which we discussed are even more important for us, to take our youth development to the next level. If we can significantly improve our training areas and as a consequence our youth development, that will give us the push that we need to be able to consistently hold our own in the near future against the other top teams in the CONCACAF region like the USA, Mexico and Costa Rica. It’s like a chain reaction. Jamaica has a lot of talented players, but we need improved sports facilities to be able to develop these talents as best we can. FIFA’s support in this matter is an enormous help for us.
How is the Jamaican national team faring?
Burrell: We have managed to get Rene Simoes, who is an experienced manager and who also has an excellent coaching staff. At the same time, we have optimised our structures and I am therefore confident that we will continue to improve. We are absolutely determined toqualifyforthe2010 FIFA World Cup™, but apart from that, we are looking to improve constantly, particularly at U-17 and U-20 level.
Jamaica’s next opponents in the qualifiers for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ are the Bahamas. How do you rate your team’s chances?
Burrell: I’ve learnt that in football, particularly when qualification for a FIFA World Cup™ is at stake, you have to respect every opponent. We obviously hope that we will beat the Bahamas and make it through to the next round. But we’re only looking as far ahead as the next match.
In 1998, Jamaica qualified for the first and to date only time for the final phase of a FIFA World Cup™ under Rene Simoes, who has now returned to the helm. What would it mean to your country to make it through a second time?
Burrell: It would bring so many good things along with it. Football is a unique catalyst that can bring passion, unity and awareness to a whole nation. Jamaica has a lot of challenges to face. We’re not where we want to be in economic terms, and we also have a certain amount of social instability. But football can change so much, it can bond a whole country and improve society at every level. Football creates peace, and it is of inestimable worth to the development of our country.