JFF will earn from last-minute South Africa friendly
André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
Even as the numbers are still being calculated, the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) is set to earn a decent sum from tomorrow's hastily arranged international friendly against South Africa in Frankfurt, Germany.
The Jamaicans agreed to play Bafana Bafana at the 11th hour, after the World Cup host found themselves without an opponent after China pulled out of their prearranged friendly on Friday.
JFF general secretary, Horace Reid, could not put a value on the amount of money that will be made by the JFF, but confirmed that the cash-strapped organisation will not be required to spend a cent towards the game.
However, he did point out that whatever is made will go towards the players' unpaid fees for the Canada friendly that was played earlier this year, airfare and other preparatory expenses for tomorrow's game.
"The game will not be at a cost to the JFF and, in fact, we will be making some money which should take care of the players, including the outstanding amount that we owe them," said Reid. "We are still trying to finalise the numbers because we are working on the air tickets as we speak."
Reid underlined the good fortune of the federation in securing the match as it looks to add to the experience and international exposure of some of the country's upcoming talent. He also took time to stress the difficulties that have been experienced in finding suitable opponents for the Reggae Boyz.
"We are always looking for opportunities to provide exposure for our players, particularly our younger players because without international exposure their growth and development will not take place," Reid offered.
"It has been very difficult to secure top-class opponents in recent times because most, if not all, the teams that have qualified for the World Cup are preferring to play teams that have also qualified," Reid shared.
"The second problem is that there has not been, except for one, any other FIFA date so far this year and that makes it even more difficult to secure quality opponents. Even those (teams) that have not qualified for the World Cup because most of these countries are not willing to play friendly international games outside of the FIFA dates."
Both teams have played each other on three occasions, with each game ending in a draw. The last contest was played last November in Bloemfontein before a fourth fixture which had been arranged prior to the Bloemfontein friendly was postponed at the request of the South African football head coach.
Reid, however, pointed out that discussions are still ongoing concerning the playing of that postponed game and that tomorrow's friendly will not necessarily fill the slot.
"I would not necessarily see this game as a replacement of the return fixture that both federations are contemplating. This happened only because the game that South Africa had scheduled, the opponent pulled out on Friday and therefore a call was given to us to see if we were willing to consider filling that spot," Reid said.