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‘Golden’ Office? ... JFF hopeful for Gold Cup nod after CONCACAF inspection

Published:Saturday | February 16, 2019 | 12:00 AMRachid Parchment /Sports News Coordinator
An aerial view of the National Stadium in Kingston.

Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) president Michael Ricketts is optimistic about the nation’s chances of hosting two games in the CONCACAF Gold Cup this summer.

Ricketts had said last September that he was worried that the JFF’s bid for games in the competition would have been rejected because he felt that the National Stadium may not have been up to CONCACAF’s standard.

However, he said that officials visited the island recently to inspect the venue, and now, he has a positive feeling that it will be approved.

“We’re working on it and it’s still very much alive,” Ricketts told The Gleaner. “In fact, some CONCACAF personnel were here on Tuesday, and we’re hoping to get a response on what they thought. They looked at the stadium and had a detailed inspection, and they seemed pretty satisfied based on their body language. But we’re still waiting for a formal response from them. We’re just hopeful and optimistic based on the inspection on Tuesday.”

Independence Park general manager Major Desmon Brown said that despite Ricketts’ concerns that the stadium may not have been up to the standard of hosting the competition, no major upgrades were done to the facility to get CONCACAF’s approval.

“I would not know why it would not have been successful,” he said. “We haven’t done anything new. All we have done is maintain our standards. The field is in very good condition. We have a major upgrade coming, which has not started yet. Maybe it’s just the condition of the field.”

The JFF is hoping to host a double-header at the stadium, but until approval is granted, it would not know the specifics of what stage of games they would be.

Jamaica is still trying to qualify for the tournament from the CONCACAF Nations’ League and can do so with a win against El Salvador on March 23. The Gold Cup takes place from June 15 to July 7.