The entire island of Jamaica is in deep mourning this morning as Captain Horace has lost his battle with cancer and died at 67 in a Miami, Florida hospital.
Captain Horace Burrell was the head of the Jamaica Football Federation and his responsible for Jamaica being the first English speaking country to make the world up in 1998.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness said the country had lost an icon, adding that Burrell’s death was “a significant loss for Jamaica”.
Burrell’s passing came as a big shock to Jamaica. Even though his diagnosis was well known, he was still active and appeared to be benefiting from treatment at Johns Hopkins Cancer Treatment Center in Baltimore, Maryland.
Former Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller recalled that during her tenure as sports minister she had the pleasure of working with Burrell for many years following his election as JFF president in 1994.
“Captain’s place is cemented in the region’s sporting history as he was the leading force in taking the Reggae Boyz to the 1998 World Cup in France, making Jamaica the first English-speaking Caribbean country to qualify for the FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) World Cup,” Simpson Miller said.
“Captain Burrell, with his flamboyance and bravado, achieved this feat because he believed in himself and in the power and skill of the Jamaican people. He was never afraid to knock on doors and think outside the box as he tried to make the young Reggae Boyz a success,” Simpson Miller added.
She also said that Burrell “used his position in CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football) to advance Jamaica’s football and ensure that we were treated fairly”.
“Jamaica, football and the sporting fraternity have lost a giant, and I have lost a friend,” Simpson Miller said.
Sport minister Olivia “Babsy” Grange conveyed her sympathy to Burrell’s family, friends and the executive of the JFF.
She described him as a patriot who was fully committed to the development of the sport in Jamaica.
“Football in Jamaica has lost a cornerstone of the sport, a man who was unwavering in his commitment,” Grange said. “His passing has left a void that will take some time to be filled.”
Captain Horace Garfield Burrell was born on February, 8, 1950 in Clarendon. He served as JFF president between 1994 and 2003, and from 2007 until his death yesterday.
A senior vice-president of CONCACAF and a former vice-president of the Caribbean Football Union, Burrell also served as a member of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee and a vice-president of the Jamaica Olympic Association.
His service to the sport resulted in him being bestowed with the Order of Distinction (Commander Class) by the Jamaican Government and the FIFA Order of Merit.
Described as a man with iron determination, steely focus and supreme self-confidence, Burrell was also a successful businessman who retired from the Jamaica Defence Force in 1985, after 12 years, to consolidate his interest in Kake World, the bakery he started with his then wife Lourea.
In 1995 he founded Captain’s Bakery and Grill, which expanded to the Cayman Islands, and in 2008 he started Captain’s Aviation Services.