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Sir Durward Knowles praises Sealey and Lunn

Athletes normally grab the headlines in sports. On the few occasions when they are not in the media spotlight, managers, coaches/trainers are generally the focus. Sports administrators get the media attention mostly, only as a result of some controversy.

This is understandable. Star-status is usually attached to those actually within the arenas of competition. However, there are those special moments in time when the sports administrators who toil for the most part in the background, get noticed for something quite positive. This is the case for Bahamas Football Association (BFA) President Anton Sealey and his vice president, Fred Lunn.

The two stalwarts of the region have now gone global in a big way. When they absolutely refused to accept funds handed out to regional soccer leaders during a Caribbean Football Union (CFU) session in Trinidad this past May, Sealey and Lunn set a standard that might forever change the way how business among world soccer leaders is done.

For their honesty in the face of possible criticism by others who felt there was nothing wrong in accepting the $40,000 financial gestures allegedly for support of a Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) presidential candidate, Sealey and Lunn have been saluted by a representative of one of the world’s most prestigious sports organizations.

It was a courageous stand and Grant Wahl, a veteran writer for Sports Illustrated, has nominated the pair for his organization’s prestigious award. Sealey and Lunn have been listed as Wahl’s “Sports Illustrated Sportsmen of 2011.”

The opening paragraph of his article that was published last week was particularly complimentary of Sealey, Lunn and this country.

It read: “There aren’t many uplifting stories in the world of FIFA politics. The men who run the World Cup… and they are all men… have stained the reputation of the organization that governs the world’s most popular sport, but, this year, two soccer officials from the tiny Bahamas gave me reason for hope, and that’s why I’m nominating them as my 2011 Sportsmen of the Year.”

Indeed! Sir Durward Knowles, the country’s sporting patriarch, had this to say: “I’m very proud of them. The whole Bahamas should be. They came forward when no one else would. The message that they sent out to the world is that there is credibility in the Bahamian sports program. It was noble of them to do such a thing. They made me feel proud.”

Sealey has been low key. He in fact has not been courting attention and prefers a low profile. The same is true for Lunn. They did something very special though. Sealey and Lunn deserve all the credit that comes their way.

The two have added another strong plank to the sporting structure in this country. Ultimately, the Sports Illustrated award might not end up in their hands. However, the nomination itself by Wahl is a milestone for Bahamian sports. If not the award, when all of the votes are counted, Sealey and Lunn should at least receive Certificates of Honor.

(To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at fredericksturrup@gmail.com)

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