Sat | Aug 18, 2018

Door not closed on overseas players - Ricketts

Published:Thursday | August 9, 2018 | 12:17 AMLivingston Scott/GleanerWriter
Ricketts

Michael Ricketts, Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) president, is seeking to give the assurance that the door is not closed on Jamaica's overseas-based players and that the start of the CONCACAF League of Nations competition in September will mark their return to the Reggae Boyz set-up.

However, Ricketts warned that the federation would only be looking to add the best foreign-based players to the local group that has largely been used in preparation for the start of the League of Nations tournament.

"We want the best team. We have never indicated that we don't want the overseas-based players. Of course we want them, and we will be engaging the overseas players for the Nations League coming up," Ricketts said. "What we have always said, and we are still standing by that, is that we don't want an influx of overseas-based players who are not better than what we have (locally)."

The administrator further stated that discussions would be held with head coach Theodore Whitmore to determine the team's need and which players could be brought in to satisfy the areas that need attention.

"So in our discussions with coach Whitmore, we will be looking at who we will be looking to bring in as certainly he (Whitmore) would want to fill some important positions on the field, and we will be going for some of our overseas players to fill those gaps," said Ricketts.

"But it's not true that we have closed the door on our overseas players. We start (League of Nations) on the ninth of September, and we will be looking to have some of the overseas players then," he added.

During the failed 2018 World Cup qualification campaign, the national team was swarming with English and US-based professionals, while local players struggled to get opportunities. However, since the country's exit from the qualification tournament, the administration switched its approach and largely excluded the foreign-based internationals.

Despite the strides made by local players under Whitmore's stewardship, with the team reaching the Caribbean Cup and Gold Cup finals last year in the space of a month, the national coach has made no secret of his desire to have specific overseas-based players fill certain position and complement the current crop of local players.

livingston.scott@gleanerjm.com