JFF committed to veterans’ fundraiser– Ricketts
Although the recent annual football veterans fundraiser, held at York Oval in St Thomas, on New Year’s Day, was a flop in terms of spectator turn out, Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) president Michael Ricketts says it has not dampened their spirits and that they will continue to push forward with the initiative.
Ricketts admitted that a more popular venue could have resulted in a bigger turnout on the day; however, he swore that they are committed to finding ways to generate funds for the many former national players who have fallen on hard times.
“This (turnout) is a little disappointing but this certainly won’t deter us. We really thought we would have had more persons here. But we won’t let this dampen our spirit, we are intent on getting help and support for our former national players,” Ricketts said.
Although the fundraiser wasn’t a success, Ricketts said a number of other events have been planned to raise money for the cause.
“This (football fundraiser) is just the first of a series of events that are planned to raise some funds for these players. The (spectator) numbers were a little disappointing but we will be working on other events, as we surely want to help these players who are really in need. We are intent on doing what we can to assist them. We will be going to corporate Jamaica and will be doing the best we can to ensure we raise funds to assists these former players,” he continued.
Some, including Neville Oxford of the organising committee, said the event wasn’t properly promoted. Oxford also thought the event would have better served if it was held in or closer to the Corporate Area.
“I am very disappointed in the turnout but it wasn’t properly advertised. I believe the JFF fell down there. There was nothing on social media, nothing in the electronic press and the venue also could have been a more popular one. But it’s a start and we have to keep the momentum going because once it takes off and people get excited, they will come,” Oxford stated.
However, Ricketts said the intention is to bring the show around the island for all football-loving fans to see and show their support for these former greats of the local game.
“We will be moving around, so the Corporate Area could very well be a next venue. We will have raffles, bingo and other events, so this year will be busy for us and we will find innovative ways to help these players, like asking Food For the Poor to assist those that need housing,” he said. “We did a lot of promotions but the folks here (St Thomas) just didn’t buy into it. But we will move around, we will go to the Corporate Area, to the west, all over. But we are not going to stop because it is important that we reach out to our brothers in need.”
Meanwhile, a host of past and present stars turned up on the day, including the likes of Dennis ‘Stylo’ Ebanks, Jermaine Hue, Dennis Hutchinson, Donald Stewart, Shawn Lawes, Fabian Reid and Kemal Malcolm.
In the opening game, Masters and Celebrities defeated the former national invitational team 3-1 on a Damion English hat-trick, while Kemal Malcolm and Fabian Reid scored in the national invitational team’s 2-1 win over the Red Stripe Premier League All Stars, for whom Jabuer Johnson scored.