’I have unfinished business’
KSAFA president has change of heart over remaining in top post
WHEN MARK Bennett was asked by the Kingston and St Andrew Football Association (KSAFA) Council to step in and fill the void being left by previous president Wayne Shaw, who abruptly resigned in November last year, the former declared an unwillingness to remain in office for the long haul.
However, in a recent interview, the KSAFA boss did an about turn, declaring that he would now be seeking a full term in office when elections, which are constitutionally due this year, are called.
Bennett insists that he has unfinished business and that he has been encouraged by the KSAFA affiliates to continue.
“The question has been asked if I will run again. I will run again,” he told The Gleaner.
“I am not going to be like Moses and just point the way. I will be there working and building that plan and laying that foundation.
“So I have unfinished business and I am encouraged by the support of the clubs and club leaders,” he said.
One of the things his critics have argued is that Bennett’s former club, Brown’s Town, is not in the best state, bringing into question whether the former president of such a club should lead the parish association.
In his defence, Bennett said Brown’s Town is located in a community where there is continual strife and gang violence, which makes it one of the most difficult clubs to run in the Corporate Area.
However, he noted that during his time as head of the club from 2011-17, it achieved unprecedented success, winning the KSAFA U17 competition, finishing third among the U20s, and reaching the Major and Super League finals, along with four semi-finals.
“It is a difficult club with a difficult history, but Brown’s Town has never stop trying, and if people want to look at that and ask, ‘Why should I be leading this association?’, I am an executive on this body since Ambassador Stewart Stephenson (was president) and every task that I have been given, I have carried out.
“I led the technical committee, and during the time, we had more coaching and management courses than any other period in KSAFA, and up to this day, we have coaching education going.
“So for persons to say that ‘Brown’s Town is not doing well, how is he president?’ I have proven my worth. I am the holder of a JOA sports management certification. I understand what it takes to run a sporting body,” said Bennett.
While cognisant of the questions, Bennett is confident he has the full backing of the KSAFA delegates and invites any potential challenger to put their hat in the ring.
“It is being said in some quarters that this council does not have any support with the clubs, so I am laying it down to all those who believe they can to come put up their challenge. Come and put up your challenge, and I am not talking boastfully, but I am confident I will win.”
He continued that the delegates know where he stands and that he is for club development and the association.
“They know my worth, work, and history. I have been serving football from the ‘80s, and the clubs know I am about their advancement.
“So they have asked me to lead, and after our retreat and looking at the needs of the organisation, I have decided that I am going to serve,” he said.
Bennett was elected unopposed at a Special General Meeting after Shaw stepped away.