Olivia Grange, Jamaica's Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, has expressed her deep sadness at the sudden death of former national footballer, Bancroft Gordon, who had been visiting the island from the United States. He was 66.

Reports indicate that the Excelsior High School alum died suddenly on Tuesday night, 48 hours after attending an event in Porus, Manchester.

“So sad that Bancroft, who was one of the guests at the Porus Football Festival in Manchester on Sunday and actually played in the exhibition football match, died two days later,” Minister Grange said.

During the early 1970s, ‘Banky’ as he was affectionately known, represented Excelsior High School in several sports including basketball, hockey, cricket, and track and field. Later in life, he developed a passion for golf. His talents in academics and athletics won him a football scholarship to Howard University in Washington, DC where he thrived both on and off the field as an All-American in football and Phi Beta honours in academics.

After graduation with a degree in Economics and with the dissolution of the North American Soccer League, Bancroft would gain admission to Harvard University Law School and went on to have a successful career during which time he was also a mentor to several Jamaican student-athletes.

“He was so talented that he represented his alma mater, Excelsior High School, in five sports before settling on football as his final focus and went to represent Jamaica from 1976-79. He also played professional soccer in the US for two years,” Minister Grange said.

“Bancroft also distinguished himself as a lawyer and was employed by the Fortune 500 corporation, Marriott International Inc. as its vice president, assistant general counsel and corporate secretary and was also a board member of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce.

“What has proved to be his last visit to his homeland along with his continued assistance to the national team as well as to various club teams, showed that his love for football in Jamaica remained strong to the end. 

“My condolences to Bancroft’s family members, associates and to the football fraternity.” 



Former Jamaica national football footballer Christopher Zaidie died on Sunday after a bout with cancer. He was 55.

Between the 1980s and 1990s, Zaidie, a midfielder, was a staple in local football in Jamaica.

As a member of the St. George’s College Manning Cup team between 1980 and 1984, Zaidie was teammates with the likes of Ziggy Marley, Andrew Price, Christopher Morgan, Michael Forbes, Nicholas Zaidie, Brian Hamilton and Garfield Pearcy. Under the guidance of the late coach Dennis Zaidie, he won the coveted triple twice – Manning Cup, Nutrament Shield, and Olivier Shield in 1983 and the Manning Cup, Walker Cup and Olivier Shield in 1984.

Dennis Zaidie and Jackie Bell, who coached Premier League club Santos, would perish in a motor vehicle accident in Mexico in 1986 having gone there to watch a match in the FIFA World Cup.

Chris would go on to represent Jamaica during the 1994 World Cup campaign, playing six matches between 1992 and 1993.

Price, who is now the head coach at Jamaica Premier League club Humble Lion and three-time Manning Cup champions Calabar High School, has been close friends with Zaidie since they played against each other in Alberga Cup football in the late 1970s– Zaidie for St Peter and Paul, Price for Alpha.

“Chris was more than a teammate, he was a friend and a brother and somebody who I could depend on and he could on me,” Price recalled of Zaidie, who at the time of his death worked as a teacher in Miramar, Florida.

“We were close from we were kids and played Alberga Cup football. We ended up at George’s and as schoolboys played for Kingston Lions in the now defunct Caribbean semi-professional league and Boys Town FC.”

Zaidie is survived by his wife Debbie and two children.

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