Freed Football Officials Still Committed To The Game

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Football officials cleared of drug charges in Jamaica on Thursday, have said the ordeal has not discouraged them from wanting to serve the sport.
Assistant coach of the senior national football team, Derrick “Pretty Boy” Edwards and equipment coordinator, Danny Benjamin, appeared in the Kingston and St. Andrew Parish Court on Thursday facing drug-related charges but were told they were free to go after the prosecution said they did not have enough evidence against them.
Benjamin, who is manager of the Parham Football Club here, said his love and passion for the game are undying but adds that things must change where the operation at the national level is concerned.
“I am a big sports man and I love what I do but things have got to change a bit. I hope that we can get more professional, more organised and chart a different path because this is a learning process. I think the system that we have, we need to move away from that because that system cannot be trusted,” he said.
Meanwhile, Derrick, who is also head coach of the Grenades Football Club, said although he was angry because of the situation, the game of football remains dear to his heart, adding it would be difficult to walk away.
“When you’ve been around a person for two months and you eat together, talk together, walk together and you share certain ideas you see the value in the man. I think he is a good man and anybody who knows Danny knows that he would never put himself into that position or even put anybody in that situation, so for me, this has brought us even closer like brothers and I will walk with Danny right down to the end. This has drawn us so close together right now that I will do anything for Danny right now when it comes to something that will uplift him,” he said.
The experience, according to the former national striker, has cemented their friendship.
“Because of how everything went down you get a bit angry, you get bitter because we are human beings but at the end of the day I don’t think football did me anything. I think that the Lord gave me a talent and I think that I have to carry on his work,” he said.
“I think he set me in this position to propel me to even bigger things so for me to walk away from the game I think it wouldn’t be good for my spirituality and it wouldn’t be good for the position that the Lord has put me in. As for working with the national team, it is a decision I am considering but I still need some time to talk to my family about the whole situation,” he added.
The officials were arrested on March 26 when, during a routine luggage screening at the Norman Manley International Airport, in Jamaica, 3.6 pounds of ganja with an estimated value of JMD $14,400 was discovered in one of the team’s luggage.
Benjamin, who is ultimately responsible for the luggage as the equipment coordinator and Derrick, who helped Benjamin check the bags, were arrested and subsequently charged.
The men are slated to return home on Monday.

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