A group of former national representatives, who call themselves the “Unsung Heroes”, and are led by Michael Tulloch, have over the past few years been making a concerted effort to seek out and provide support for individuals who have played a role in Jamaica’s football development over the years, but have fallen on hard times. The work of this group has got media attention in the past few weeks, which has led to support for their actions and also for people in football to receive assistance from the local governing body, the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF).
Speaking at a presentation ceremony for the annual Bell/Zaidie Memorial Match on Monday, JFF President Michael Ricketts reaffirmed the commitment of the federation to support the efforts of the former players, to ensure that those in need get as much help as can be afforded to them by the organisation that he leads.
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Ricketts outlined the steps that the JFF has already embarked upon in recent weeks.
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“Two weeks ago, I visited Miguel Blair and then last Tuesday we took a trip down to the country. We went to Manchester where we visited Bob West, a former general secretary at the JFF.
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“We also went to St Elizabeth and visited former Fifa referee Dwight Royal, then we went to Westmoreland and visited two former players — Boysie Nicholson and Robert Andrews. It was a very rewarding exercise. They were absolutely delighted to see a contingent from the JFF actually visiting them,” he said
The president also explained where funds will come from in the short term, to support the Unsung Heroes who have been doing invaluable work in that area
“We are intent on continuing the relationship with our past players and we will make some funds available from our COVID grant from Fifa, to the welfare programme. We will take a decision as to how much we can contribute and this will be done in short order.”
Ricketts also revealed that the group is working to formalise their operations, which he believes will give them even more credibility
“We have been having discussions with some past players as they try to formalise their committee. I know that Neville Oxford is working feverishly to get this group together, so that we can have a formal Former Players Association that certainly will be able to be recognised by the private sector and certainly by football in general
“I know that they are working on that and I understand that there could be an official launch by year end and the JFF is looking forward to that, where we can now formalise a relationship with the past players and the federation.”
The Unsung Heroes have been helping to change the living conditions of a number of former players and administrators who have been undergoing very challenging situations since their exit from the game
— Dwayne Richards
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