Jamaica’s football fraternity is mourning the loss of Reggae Girlz team manager Jean Nelson, who died on Saturday (September 12) after a battle with cancer.
In a statement released on Sunday, the Jamaica Football Federation hailed Nelson, a former player, as a “stalwart and a giant in her support of women’s football”.
“Her love for the game, even in its infancy, led her to drive relentlessly for its organization and development locally. She was one of the driving forces who started the first women’s football league circa 1990,” the JFF said.
Nelson was the manager of the senior women’s team, the Reggae Girlz, for many years and managed Jamaica’s first and only team to the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France in 2019.
The Kingston and St Andrew Football Association (KSAFA) also expressed their grief at news of the passing of Nelson who was also the first official president of the Jamaica Women’s Football Association.
“Jean was a close personal friend and former co-worker and we both shared the love for the beautiful game of football. It was her passion,” said KSAFA President Wayne Shaw.
“She has served the country with distinction and she will be greatly missed. Condolences to her daughter Rennee and family members and the football fraternity.”
Meanwhile, the Jamaica Paralympic Association (JPA) said it “salutes with heartfelt gratitude the contribution of Jean Nelson to sport and, in particular, football where her credentials as a Manager to our national team, the Reggae Girlzs, and mentor to our youth were well -known, admired and respected”.
Christopher Samuda, the president of the JPA and the Jamaica Olympic Association, said in her mortal life, Nelson challenged the barriers to self-actualisation and spiritual immortality and lived a ministry which embraced the religious hat-trick of body, soul and spirit for which she was not only an ardent advocate but a repeated goal scorer.
Selected and appointed in March of this year as the manager for Jamaica’s Paralympic prospective team to the 2023 IPC World Para Athletics Championships, Jean conveyed in the interview attributes which we already knew she possessed that impelled her to have the conviction that our youth, and specifically those with challenges, can rise above and overcome their circumstances and become inspiring citizens, Samuda said.
“With a deep understanding of the maxim ‘I think therefore I am’, Jean’s calling was humanitarian in thought, word and deed,” he added.
“The Paralympic family memorialises a life lived well in sport and in humanity and for the betterment of the lives of para athletes to whom she was committed beyond the call of duty.”